This interview with Dr Paul Glynne
first appeared in Independent Practitioner Today, March 2013 issue and is re-published with kind permission.
Big is beautiful
London doctors are aiming to make their ‘super-clinic’ an international brand. Dr Paul Glynne (right), co-founder of The Physicians’ Clinic, tells Independent Practitioner Today its story so far and its plans for the future.
The Physcians’ Clinic in London’s Devonshire Street has ambitions to become the biggest and most comprehensive physician practice in London, combining the very best in collaborative multispeciality medicine with the highest standards of customer service.
Central London is renowned for having a critical mass of some of the world’s most talented doctors, but having a high concentration of them working together as a team under one roof has – until now – been hard to achieve in the private sector.
Previously, the private patient experience has been arguably quite fragmented. There are many sole practitioners operating out of rented consulting rooms in W1, but if they need to refer the patients for diagnostic tests or to see another specialist, they often have to refer patients to a different facility on another day.
This means patients are sent off for an MRI scan here and a blood test there, and booked in for appointments with other specialists on other dates at some other location. This is obviously highly inconvenient for them. We thought we could do it better.
Working as a team
The Physicians’ Clinic is the result: 38 top medical specialists, including six professors of medicine working within the Harley Street Clinic Diagnostic Centre, a multimillion-pound clinic in prime central London.
All of the doctors have been invited to join The Physicians’ Clinic, all of whom have a passion for practising the best medicine and working together as a team – this is very much the main driver.
In many cases, our doctors are pre-eminent in their field and the majority work in London teaching hospitals. The clinic was founded by myself, a consultant physician and previously medical director at University College London hospitals; Dr Huw Beynon, a consultant rheumatologist at the Royal Free hospital; Dr Andrew Bishop, a consultant cardiologist; and Tim Strawbridge, who has a strong background in the business side of private practice and who is now our managing director.
We quietly opened our doors in September 2011 without any fanfare, but our reputation is already building just by word of mouth.
"Sixteen months down
the line and we are
1,000 consultations a month"
The best of both worlds
What we have set out to do here is combine the very best of collaborative medicine and the multidisciplinary team culture of a London teaching hospital with the rapid access to specialists and diagnostics and excellent customer service that only the private sector can offer.
We continue to recruit specialists, many of whom are leading names in their field. We are admirers of the Mayo Clinic in the US and are aiming to replicate – albeit on a much smaller scale – the same tradition of delivering comprehensive healthcare, as well as education and research.
People will travel from all over the world to be seen at one of the three Mayo Clinic sites and we are setting out to build a similar international brand at The Physicians’ Clinic in London.
At The Physicians’ Clinic, patients are able to see multiple specialists, have instant on-site access to diagnostic tests, including MRI, and receive their results within hours.
This is much more convenient for busy people and for those patients who have difficult diagnostic problems or complex conditions that may need to see several specialists.
The Physicians’ Clinic holds regular case-based multidisciplinary meetings, where we present complex and interesting cases, drawing from the vast experience of the pooled consultant group and diverse specialist interests. This benefits our patients and is a wonderful educational experience.
The Physicians’ Clinic’s team is drawn from 12 different specialties including cardiology, acute and general medicine, dermatology, gastroenterology and hepatology, haematology, nephrology, neurology, respiratory medicine and rheumatology.
Patients are drawn from diverse groups. The clinic has links with a number of foreign embassies, a major overseas insurer, a group that co-ordinates healthcare for UK-based Russian patients, Middle Eastern customers, as well as self-referring London residents.
Although the majority of our workload concerns outpatient and ambulatory care, we also have a rapid-access service operating 365 days a year for those patients who need urgent admission to a private hospital. We have close links with The Princess Grace hospital, The Harley Street Clinic and other facilities that are nearby.
"Our policy is to admit
patients to the best place
for them, wherever that
might be, based on clinical need"
Supporting biomedical research too
The Physicians’ Clinic is also setting up The UCL Physicians’ Circle in partnership with University College London. The circle provides a framework through which we can attract philanthropic donations to help fund biomedical research at University College London – but also other centres at a later date.
Very often, grateful patients want to give something back when they have received great care and we are hoping that we can help direct those philanthropists to invest in our research. We have already had some success in this area.