Cleveland Clinic London to expand amid dissatisfaction with NHS

Private healthcare provider says new building, research projects and clinical trials on way after first year

Cleveland Clinic London opened a year ago. Photo: Cleveland Clinic
Powered by automated translation

London’s second biggest private hospital will be “expanding its footprint” in the capital, as trust in the UK’s public healthcare system reaches an all-time low.

Cleveland Clinic London, which opened a year ago today, said there had been approximately 75,000 patient visits with 28,333 unique patient appointments at the hospital and its Portland Place Outpatient Centre.

"We have seen a strong demand for care across all our specialties – but especially complex care in cardiac, neurology, orthopaedics, digestive disease," Tommaso Falcone, Cleveland Clinic London Interim CEO, told The National.

Overseas health patients accounted for about 2,000 of those who used the hospital next to Buckingham Palace, official home of the monarch.

A British Social Attitudes survey revealed that just over half (51 per cent) of people are unhappy with the public National Health Service.

The NHS faces the most severe pressures in its 74-year history, with 7.1 million patients waiting for treatment. It is increasingly outsourcing its elective care to private healthcare providers.

Waiting times for emergency services across the country reached up to 12 hours in January.

Since opening, the private hospital in Central London has admitted 2,942 patients, with about 14 per cent of those coming through the acute admissions unit, an emergency care ward.

The 184-bed hospital is the second largest in the capital after the Wellington Hospital, and focuses on heart and vascular, digestive disease, neurosciences and orthopaedics. It is one of few private hospitals in the UK to have an MRI scanner within its surgical suites, allowing surgeons to scan their patients during operations.

Over 100 complex heart and brain and spinal cord operations were performed at the hospital, including brain surgery where the patient is awake during the procedure. The hospital said it began performing these operations within three months of opening.

The hospital says it has supported the NHS with its waiting lists for complex procedures for spine, brain and digestive disease. It did not provide a number of NHS patients treated this year.

However, there are signs that pressures on the NHS may spill into the private sector. Junior doctor strikes in March resulted in consultant doctors, who work privately outside of their commitments to the NHS, spending additional hours at NHS hospitals.

And, though more Britons are paying for private health care, many are seeking more affordable treatment overseas.

A representative for the hospital said it had not been affected by the strikes.

The hospital's interim chief executive Dr Tommaso Falcone announced in February that a new outpatient building in the City of London will open in autumn this year. The 1,200 square metre extension would offer patients “fast access” to appointments with general practitioners and diagnostic services including MRI scans.

The Cleveland Clinic London will also continue to expand its collaborations with universities and medical research.

In October last year, the hospital announced a new training programme for students of Queen Mary University of London’s Faculty of Dentistry. The first cohort of nursing students from London Southbank University began in early November, 2022.

Cleveland Clinic London will also become the first private healthcare provider in the UK to have a research repository, which will collect, store and publish consented patient data. A team of cardiologists has recently been approved for a trial that focuses on the keyhole implantation of heart valve prosthesis into the tricuspid valve.

Updated: March 29, 2023, 3:17 PM