The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (RBCH) to launch new private patient unit this month, with all profits apparently to be reinvested back into NHS care.
The new unit will be run by Bournemouth Private Clinic (BPC), established by the Trust in 2008 as an independent organisation in charge of managing and developing its private patient services. The clinic’s purpose is to generate extra income that can be used to provide resources for NHS patients, with more than £3m already reinvested to date.
RBCH provides highly valued NHS services and receives excellent patient and staff recommendation rates in its annual surveys. Last year, the Trust decided to expand BPC by adding a new, purpose-built private patient unit in the area previously occupied by Ward 10 at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital (RBH). Day-case oncology patients who were treated on Ward 10 had already been transferred to the hospital’s new state-of-the-art Jigsaw Building when refurbishment of the new ward began.
The new private patient unit hosts four private patient bedrooms in a private patient ward, two consulting rooms and a treatment room, and will operate six days a week as a stand alone service. When cross-over services are required, such as operating theatres, the NHS will be able to generate income by renting BPC resources when they are not being used by NHS patients, whom we are told will still have priority.
Investment in BPC and the creation of a new, stand-alone private patient ward means the clinic will now be able to offer a wider range of medical services, from cancer care to gastroenterology, dental and eye care. The new ward will also allow BPC patients to experience all the conveniences and facilities of a private hospital, including consultant-led care, while having the advantage of emergency services on site.
Increased income generated from the expanded services will be used to purchase equipment and provide staff training over and above what the NHS can afford. In the past six years BPC has reinvested more than £3m into equipment and staff resources at RBCH, including more than £1m in funds to buy a ‘Da Vinci robot’ – an advanced machine enabling surgeons to perform delicate keyhole surgery for the treatment of prostate cancer. The clinic has also funded more than £140,000 of radiology equipment and pays for an extra member of staff to work in the Trust’s Cardiology Department.
BPC is run by its own staff, though RBCH employees will have the option to work additional shifts in the clinic as overtime where appropriate.
General Manager of Private Patient Services at the Trust, Michelle Burden, pictured, said, “We are delighted that the official launch of our new, fully refurbished Bournemouth Private Clinic at RBCH will take place this March.
“Consultants working in the NHS have always had the option to work privately and many choose to do so. With our new facilities at BPC, we can now encourage consultants to run their private practices from our hospitals. This means the Trust will be able to benefit from profits raised by providing private patient care, using NHS resources when the Trust has free capacity. This is far better for our Trust than consultants using external facilities to run their practices, as the NHS can’t benefit from that at all.”
To find out more about BPC and access the clinic’s list of frequently asked questions about how NHS private patient facilities can benefit NHS patients, you can visit www.bournemouthprivateclinic.co.uk.