PPUs the ‘best of both’

Next week the annual NHS Private Patient Service Development conference will take place on Tuesday 19th March 2019, at Royal Derby Hospital, Derby. To recognise the event we sharing a countdown of our top seven key areas for action for Trusts that together make up the ingredients for PPU success. This is the Audit Tool we use when working with Trusts to develop their local services. Today, #5, Quality of Facilities.

Private patients in NHS hospitals receive the same care and treatment as NHS patients. This is driven by the Patient Safety agenda and the awareness of the 24/7 365 infrastructure back-up that only NHS Trust campuses can provide is increasingly driving demand for NHS PPUs. A recent LaingBuisson report on the London market showed just that: NHS Trust PPUs are taking market share from independent hospitals, particularly in specialist areas such as oncology and paediatrics.

The PPU private patient promise is ‘The Best of Both’: NHS back up but with a private patient service.

To deliver this for insurers and their members requires Trust private patient facilities to deliver a degree of differentiation from the NHS experience. And short of a full private patient wing forming a ‘hospital within a hospital’, this is still achievable for key elements of the patient journey.

We know that private patients can and do accept a reasonable level of compromise when on an NHS site, as they really understand what they are buying is peace of mind. But Trusts can still work to deliver an enhanced quality of facilities that will improve the private patient experience.

The things that private patients best understand are the hotel services ‘customer experience’. PPU teams therefore need to work with estates and facilities management colleagues to: designate free car parking; offer comfortable separate waiting areas; and a ‘hotel’ feel with improved food and linen within dedicated ensuite rooms.

No two Trusts have exactly the same quality of facilities, but imagination and team work can bring alive the ‘Best of Both’ winning combination for private patients everywhere.

You can find more details about this year’s conference with this link: