HOW WE WORK WITH DOCTORS
HOW WE SUPPORT OUR DOCTORS
Caring for our patients is HCA's first priority. We are proud that thousands of leading physicians and consultants choose to run their private practice from an HCA hospital or specialist treatment centre. It's important our consultants are able to focus on patients and clinical quality. We therefore place great emphasis on supporting our doctors as little or as much as they need so that they can focus on patient care. We invest a great deal in training and development programmes for our nursing and other specialist medical staff and provide bespoke administrative services for independent practitioners, taking the burden of managing a practice away from busy consultants.
As a network, HCA provides the following services to support doctors in providing excellent patient care:
Consulting rooms and on-call accommodation adjacent to diagnostic and treatment facilities
In order to minimise worry and begin treatment as soon as possible, we aim to have patients who come for a consultation undergo any necessary diagnostic tests and, receive the results as quickly as possible. This requires our doctors to be able to see patients in close proximity to our diagnostic and treatment facilities (for example MRI machines, CT scanners, gamma cameras). To achieve this we licence our consulting rooms to doctors on an hourly or sessional basis at market rates, which we determine by passing through the rent we pay to landlords plus overheads (including rates, services charges, utilities) at c. £17.50 per hour.
As we run 24/7 facilities it is imperative that we have doctors on call onsite throughout the day and night. To facilitate this we provide accommodation to doctors at a market rate, which is calculated in the same way as consulting room fees.
General support services
Medical secretary support
To ensure the smooth running of our hospitals’ sessions, HCA employs medical secretaries to liaise with patients, deal with correspondence, make appointments and handle patients’ enquiries on doctors’ behalf. We then charge doctors for the use of these medical secretaries at the hourly market rate of c. £21-£24 per hour.
Our doctors generally work part time at our facilities, and this arrangement provides flexible secretarial support in the way that makes life easiest for patients. HCA can employ medical secretaries to work for a number of doctors and/or manage complex processes such as payroll, making the arrangement efficient both for doctors and for the hospital.
Secure and efficient data storage
To ensure the security of patient data, we provide secure data storage and IT support for all the doctors who work with us. In fact, we are very proud of some of the key innovations that we have introduced to improve patient care, including award-winning clinical software such as Patient Keeper. This ground-breaking software gives physicians access to all their patients’ information, integrated from multiple systems across a hospital in a secure, streamlined way, on their computers or mobile devices. This allows doctors to review their patients' clinical data, lab results and images of scans in real time wherever they are, meaning that they can assess risk and act if necessary.
Bespoke professional support services
Galen Health Partners, an HCA subsidiary, provides doctors with access to bespoke services that support and enhance their medical practice. By partnering with third party service providers, Galen facilitates doctors’ access to services including website designers, financial advisers, insurers, medical invoicing specialists and software companies that provide practice management tools, all of which services it recommends. Doctors can use Galen as a one-stop service for outsourcing the non-medical elements of their practice.
In addition, where appropriate, we contribute to the cost of training and professional development of doctors via external training and attendance at medical conferences.
Car parking spaces
In addition to the above, some of our facilities have car parking spaces available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.
EXPERT MEDICAL ADVICE AND CLINICAL QUALITY
"Putting patients first" was the founding philosophy of the doctors who established HCA in 1968. Since then, we have worked closely with medical professionals to put the health and wellbeing of all patients at the centre of what we do. Working closely with doctors is integral to our delivery of excellent patient care across all our hospital facilities.
HCA’s medical advice and clinical quality processes:
HCA offers wide-ranging care to patients, as well as the delivery of complex specialisms, including but not limited to: complex cancer services; cardiac surgery; neurosurgery; organ transplantation; and, complex paediatric care. We provide the highest level of intensive care (level 3) in each of our hospital facilities to support that complexity of care. We also have a team of preeminent consultant doctors who work with us to advise us on clinical quality.
Our clinical quality processes are designed to ensure that we are able to manage complex services and facilitate the best possible care for patients. As in the NHS, senior doctors spend a proportion of their time: overseeing audits and clinical governance procedures; reading and disseminating management guidelines and policies; serving on specialty advisory committees and Departmental Management Teams; carrying out hospital subcommittee duties; taking on Lead Clinician roles; updating unit documentation; dealing with complaints, clinical incident investigations and critical incident reviews; and, participating in local clinical governance committees and local and national guideline groups.
Our advisers are among the most respected and eminent consultants in the UK, and our patients benefit from the high-level clinical advice of doctors who are leaders in their fields.
HCA’s clinical advisers:
HCA works closely with a number of esteemed medical advisors. Amongst HCA’s advisers are Professors in the following specialties: breast surgery, cancer care, cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, dermatology, gastroenterology, general medicine, haematology, hepato-pancreatic-biliary, intensive care, interventional radiology, orthopaedics, obstetrics, respiratory medicine, rheumatology and urology.
HCA‘s medical advisers have collectively authored over 5,000 papers in a range of publications such as the Lancet, the British Medical Journal, the New England Journal of Medicine, as well as numerous leading specialty-specific publications.
Our advisers are founders, presidents, chairmen and representatives of dozens of national and international specialty bodies. Many are active in the Royal College of Surgeons and other Royal Colleges, in addition to which a number are active tutors, examiners, trustees and council members.
As senior clinicians, our advisers are often sought to consult on health issues for governmental and intergovernmental organisations including the UK Trade and Investment department (UKTI), the Department of Health, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
We are extremely proud that these consultant doctors choose to work with HCA.
Fees charged by clinical advisers:
HCA is charged an hourly rate by consultant doctors in return for their expertise and advice on how to operate excellent hospital facilities. These hourly rates are calculated on the amount that those consultants earn in the independent sector for their clinical work.
The vast majority of doctors who provide advice to HCA also have practicing privileges to treat patients in our facilities, but are under absolutely no obligation to do so. They are free to treat patients at any other private facility as opposed to HCA’s in compliance with the Bribery Act, GMC guidance and the Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order 2014.
Advisers’ NHS commitments:
Whilst c. 10% of the doctors who advise HCA have retired from the NHS after an average of 30-35 years practice, 90% still practice in the NHS.
HCA is passionate about ensuring that the advice we receive from consultants should in no way compromise their NHS commitments. According to a 2013 National Audit Office report, 97% of consultants have an NHS Work Plan that outlines their commitments to the NHS and the time they can give to independent sector work. In that report, most trusts stated that consultants, on completing their “programmed activities”, work an additional programmed activity at standard rates for the NHS, where required, before undertaking private practice work.
HCA requires the doctors that provide us with medical advice to attest that they are not compromising their NHS commitments to do so.
Across our network, we have advisers who benefit all or our facilities via the sharing of best practice. At Harley Street at University College Hospital in particular, the lead advisers are:
Dr Christopher McNamara
Professor Stephen Mackinnon
The information disclosed on this page in accordance with the Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order 2014 is true and accurate to the best of HCA’s knowledge and belief.