The importance of leadership

This final blog in the Top 7 PPU countdown focuses on #1 Leadership.

We are often asked what is the single most important element in enabling private patient services to thrive in an NHS Trust? The answer, founded on working with around 25 Trusts in recent years, has become very clear. The most important element is the will of the Board to see it happen.

From this flows the alignment to the service aims of the Trust that reap the widest possible range of financial and non-financial benefits from delivering private patients services alongside core NHS services. This requires visible and quotable and regular support from the Trust CEO/Chair/Medical Director.

We know from many surveys that it is vital for consultant confidence in the Trust’s commitment to growing private practice that they know who is in charge. Therefore, there should be an Executive sponsor for private patient services who is a member of the Trust Board. The Executive sponsor needs to be sighted on the financial infrastructure and business opportunities, and will appoint a senior manager to develop private patient services, maximise income generation and profitability and to deliver day-to-day operations from clinical team and the private patients’ office.

The management group for private patients should be seen as its’ own service division, separated from overseas patients administration, and include senior clinical leadership with access to finance and HR support.

From a consultant’s perspective, the PP Division’s manager will be the Trust-wide champion for private patients and encourage the development of a mixed economy model of provision such that private patients are ‘just part of business as usual’.

This mini-series has now completed the summary of each of the seven key areas of success for a PPU: leadership, administration, governance, service quality, quality of facilities, capacity and commercial focus.