Having worked for many years as a consultant in the NHS, I wanted to work for an independent healthcare provider with a defined portfolio of care. Here at Care UK we can concentrate on delivering excellent planned care that isn’t susceptible to the disruptions from emergencies that I experienced in the NHS.
We still have our challenges. The NHS is in real difficulties. Cost is always likely to be an issue in secondary care as the NHS struggles to continue to meet its targets while maintaining quality on a pressured budget. However, I think there’s still room to broadcast our capabilities – and the quality of what we do – more loudly. For example, some commissioners still don’t really appreciate the concept and value of independent sector treatment centres (ISTCs), even though ISTCs have been around for over ten years.
There’s a very positive attitude among staff – and patients – here which is very refreshing. In my travels around our treatment centres so far I’ve met colleagues with a genuine ‘can do’ philosophy and patients who are incredibly positive about the experience they’ve received.
In the NHS I became known for always being approachable, but uncompromising in my approach to quality. I want colleagues to feel they can tell me about any issue and that I’ll listen. When I first began working in intensive care a senior colleague gave me some advice: to always listen, think, then act – in that order. I’ve always tried to stick to that, although when you’re under pressure it’s easy to get it the opposite way around!
I used to be a gold miner in South Africa. That’s how I spent the first two years of my working life, but when I was underground one day during an earthquake I realised pretty quickly that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life underground. So I retrained in medicine. I still love Africa though – particularly East Africa – and I go as often as I can. I might volunteer there when I retire…