hos­pi­tal wants med­i­cal tourists

Health chiefs’ bid to lure ‘out-of-town’ pa­tients to ease cash cri­sis

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By MATTHEW REVILLE matthew.reville@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk

CASH-STRAPPED health chiefs are ex­plor­ing new tac­tics to at­tract more pa­tients from out­side Peter­bor­ough to the city’s £289 mil­lion su­per­hos­pi­tal.

Any­one in the United King­dom has the right to choose to go to any NHS hos­pi­tal they want for treat­ment with these hos­pi­tals able to boost their fund­ing by treat­ing more pa­tients go­ing in for rou­tine surgery.

With Peter­bor­ough and Stam­ford Hos­pi­tals NHS Foun­da­tion Trust bat­tling with a pre­dicted £34.3 mil­lion bud­get deficit this year, bosses want Peter­bor­ough City Hos­pi­tal (PCH) to be the first thought in GPS’ minds when they rec­om­mend where their pa­tients get treat­ment.

Their pro-ac­tive ap­proach is mainly fo­cused on at­tract­ing pa­tients from Lin­colnshire, Northamp­ton­shire and other parts of Cam­bridgeshire.

But pa­tients can also be re­ferred from fur­ther afield and hos­pi­tal bosses plan to ap­proach city ho­tels to strike a deal where they would of­fer cheaper rates on rooms for their pa­tients’ rel­a­tives.

De­spite the bid to widen the net to get more pa­tients, hos­pi­tal chiefs have guar­an­teed that no­body from Peter­bor­ough it­self will face dis­rup­tion or de­lays to get treated at PCH.

Nigel Hards, chair­man of the trust, said: “I think a lot of peo­ple don’t know they can elect to go wher­ever they want and there are a lot of po­ten­tial pa­tients we are tar­get­ing in ar­eas be­tween hos­pi­tals.

“For ex­am­ple, if some­body is based be­tween Peter­bor­ough and Lin­coln, we want to make Peter­bor­ough the place that the pa­tient chooses to go.

“We have got Rolls Royce fa­cil­i­ties and we have to make peo­ple know we are of­fer­ing a Rolls Royce ser­vice.

“Ho­tel rooms are some­thing we are look­ing into at the mo­ment. We have fam­ily rooms in the hos­pi­tal, but it would be great if we could do cheaper deals for peo­ple to stay while their rel­a­tives are in PCH.”

The su­per­hos­pi­tal opened in Novem­ber 2010 and is one of the most modern health fa­cil­i­ties in the coun­try.

One of the trust’s non-ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tors Martin Chilcott, who has a back­ground in mar­ket­ing, has been tasked with the chal­lenge of pro­mot­ing these fa­cil­i­ties to GPS, so that they make the pa­tient re­fer­rals which could be lu­cra­tive to the hos­pi­tal.

As part of the ap­proach, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the trust are mak­ing reg­u­lar trips to surg­eries; GPS are be­ing in­vited into the hos­pi­tal for monthly meet­ings; a web­site for GP in­for­ma­tion has been cre­ated and more than 1,000 leaflets have been sent out to surg­eries pro­mot­ing PCH.

Mr Hards said that while no tar­gets have been set for how many pa­tients they want to at­tract from out­side the city to use PCH, its modern fa­cil­i­ties give them an ad­van­tage against other hos­pi­tals in the mar­ket place.

He added: “Ev­ery hos­pi­tal is try­ing to do the same thing but luck­ily we have a new fa­cil­ity here that I think makes us a de­sir­able op­tion.

“It is a lot eas­ier for us to sell PCH to some­body con­sid­er­ing their op­tions than it was to sell Peter­bor­ough District Hos­pi­tal.

“Ev­ery hos­pi­tal wants to at­tract as many pa­tients as pos­si­ble - we are all com­pet­ing with each other in that way. Luck­ily, we have got state-of-theart fa­cil­i­ties to of­fer.

“Our pa­tient feed­back has also been much bet­ter since the move. By far the most valu­able mar­ket­ing tool is word of mouth and we hope pa­tients will be telling oth­ers to come to PCH.”

GPS who at­tend the monthly meet­ings now held in PCH and take part in the new bi-monthly fo­rums are given pre­sen­ta­tions by the hos­pi­tal to tell them what ser­vices are on of­fer .

For ex­am­ple, the most re­cent fo- rum in De­cem­ber fo­cused on the care and treat­ment on of­fer for kid­ney pa­tients at PCH in the hope that GPS will be en­cour­aged to re­fer pa­tients with re­nal prob­lems.

The trust has also pro­duced four GP news­let­ters in the last year pro­mot­ing ser­vices at the hos­pi­tal.

A trust spokes­woman added: “They are sent quar­terly to hundreds of GP surg­eries across the re­gion elec­tron­i­cally. The trust also has a se­cure web­site that GPS can ac­cess for clin­i­cal in­for­ma­tion.

“Our busi­ness de­vel­op­ment team are also vis­it­ing GP surg­eries on an in­for­mal ba­sis to high­light new ser­vices and foster bet­ter re­la­tion­ships.

“More for­mally, the trust’s busi­ness de­vel­op­ment team have at­tended GP ed­u­ca­tional days within GP prac­tices across Lin­colnshire, Cam­bridgeshire, Peter­bor­ough, Le­ices­ter­shire, Rut­land and Northamp­ton­shire.”

rolls royce fa­cil­ity: Nigel Hards is look­ing to at­tract more pa­tients from out­side Peter­bor­ough to use the hos­pi­tal.

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