Private hospital providers are investing huge amounts to beef up facilities in London, in response to growing demand for top of the range treatment and services in the capital.
HCA International, which runs six hospitals in London, has just revealed more details of plans to expand the Wellington Hospital, already Britain’s largest private hospital, by creating a new outpatient and cancer centre.
The development of the Platinum Medical Centre, which will see the Wellington grow in size by almost a third, is thought to be the biggest development in the independent healthcare sector since The London Bridge Hospital, also owned by HCA, was opened in the mid 1980s.
Work is now underway on the £22m redevelopment programme, after the Wellington acquired a 48,000 square foot building in Lodge Road, just south of its main campus.
Once complete, the new centre, which will be the largest in the independent sector in the UK, will provide a range of outpatient and day case diagnostics and procedures including a new one stop oncology service.
The new oncology centre at the Wellington will focus mainly on gastrointestinal cancers, together with liver cancer, head and neck cancers and gynaecological cancers. In addition, there will also be a new breast care service based in the medical centre. Outpatient clinics currently held in the main Wellington building will move to the new centre which it is hoped will be completed by October of next year.
Meanwhile, the London Clinic has officially opened its £70m Cancer Centre near Harley Street, as demand for access to complex cancer treatment increases from both insured and self-pay patients.
The construction of the 7,500m2 site will comprise eight storeys including three below ground level and will hold 47 individual bedrooms and 22 day care pods in a modern purpose built environment. As well as having its own entrance at 23 Devonshire Place, to ensure direct access to the centre from the main hospital, a tunnel has been built under the road on Devonshire Place linking the two front entrances.
A spokesman for the Bupa Cromwell Hospital, meanwhile, said that recent developments there include a new out-of-hours service for patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. Patients can access the hospital’s special senior oncology specialists 24 hours a day, every day if they have specific concerns about their health. The Cromwell, which Bupa acquired in 2008, has also introduced a “GP Fast Track” service which allows GPs to gain admission for urgent cases 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Britain’s largest private hospital provider, BMI Healthcare, has also stepped up its interest in London, with parent company General Healthcare Group agreeing to acquire a stake in the Phoenix Hospital Group. The acquisition means that GHG will now run Phoenix’s Central London businesses, 9 Harley Street and the new Weymouth Hospital on Weymouth Street.
News that private hospital providers are investing more in services in London comes as a report commissioned by the British Medical Association warns that London’s NHS hospital network could be reduced to a small number of “major acute” hospitals with many district generals reduced to “local hospitals” with slimmed-down services.