Having adopted a US model of doctor partnership businesses, OneWelbeck is leading the way in the UK – and globally – when it comes to providing healthcare for high-net worth individuals
Words Sophia Charalambous
The pandemic has been unforgiving in its desire to disrupt, and as a result the healthcare sector has never been busier.
With NHS waiting lists for non-Covid treatments looking to be around 13 million, according to new estimates by the health secretary, the need for excellent medical care will no doubt become imperative.
OneWelbeck started with four gastroenterologists and is now an army of 200 doctors across 10 clinics, some of which they believe may be the largest of their kind in the UK, in the private sector.
CEO of OneWelbeck, Andrew Chadwick-Jones knew clinics founded by doctors and healthcare leaders in different medical areas was the way forward. He explains: “My background was manufacturing and airlines and I just thought healthcare could be better organised and delivered.
“I worked a lot around Harley Street and I saw there were amazing doctors but very average hospitals.
“I knew we’ve got a brilliant group of doctors and can deliver better care.”
Andrew came across this model of healthcare in the US, where he discovered 70 per cent of all surgery is conducted.
He adds: “I was amazed it hadn’t got to the UK or the continent but I think it’s because we’ve got government delivered healthcare and there hasn’t really been the incentive to build doctor partner businesses.
“There’s a lot of very good things about the NHS and the healthcare system that we have but it’s not the place to build doctor partner businesses.
“But we didn’t build this company to make a living out of the NHS, in reality what we’re trying to do is raise the global standard of healthcare in London and to be globally-leading.
“Our outcome was to serve these very demanding high-net worth residents of Mayfair – that was our target market.”
The model has proved both popular and successful with many more clinics opening, even during the height of the pandemic, such as Women’s Health.
Within all clinics there is team-based care, with specialities and subspecialties, which is different to a lot of healthcare models.
For example, under Respiratory you will find Covid experts, tuberculosis experts, lung cancer experts, asthma experts to name a few.
Andrew’s goal is to make OneWelbeck London’s real competitor to other cities with strong private healthcare reputations.
“The residents of Mayfair are a very globally mobile group of people,” Andrew adds.
“They are picky about health in Mayfair but also around the world that’s why we have to have these very high standards.”
While OneWelbeck has thrived against the odds of Covid, it also had immense challenges to contend with, from the constantly changing clinical protocols while maintaining operational, a short-term closure during lockdown 1.0, and understanding the latest sanitary regulations.
A blessing in disguise was their new state-of-the-art buildings, equipped with air ventilators that allowed for 15 air changes an hour, which kept with Covid protocols.
They also became a private system of last resort for some of the most in need.
Andrew explains: “We ran a service where if one of the biggest health insurers couldn’t find a doctor to see a patient our team would see them, wherever they were in the UK or whatever way we needed to do it.”
The CEO reveals there are already plans in motion to expand OneWelbeck further, using the space behind the building to add another 50 per cent to the size in the next year.
“We’re adding more and more services to become comprehensive and synergistic with each other,” says Andrew.
The clinic is big enough to provide some specialisms other clinics don’t have the space to do, for example cardiac imaging and abdominal imaging.
“We have a very long journey and a very big vision for being excellent,” says Andrew.
“We’re not a very self congratulatory organisation, we want to keep pushing and developing.
“The best part of healthcare is to make a difference and while I don’t think I would have made a very good doctor, I can bring what I am good at into the healthcare field.”
There is no doubt the future of UK healthcare is a bright one.