UK Healthcare Pavilion: HCA UK

Q&A - 22ND MARCH 2021

In the latest of a regular series of Q&As with participants in the UK Healthcare Pavilion, a showcase for the UK’s world-class life sciences and healthcare sector, Annabelle Neame of HCA UK answers our questions

The UK Healthcare Pavilion has launched, showcasing the UK’s world-class life sciences and healthcare sector. The Howard de Walden Estate is thrilled to partner with this unique new platform, which features some of our renowned hospitals, consultant clinics and specialists here within the world-famous Harley Street Medical Area (HSMA). Over the next few weeks, we’ll be spotlighting some of these organisations as part of our new Q&A series.

This week, we hear from Annabelle Neame, director of business development at HCA UK.

Give us an overview of HCA Healthcare. What do you specialise in?
HCA Healthcare was founded in Nashville, USA, in 1995. Today it’s the world’s largest private hospital group, with UK centres across London and Manchester. When HCA came to the UK in the 1990s, it was to do something not being done in the private healthcare sector at the time: establish hospitals with the deep clinical infrastructure to provide the most complex care otherwise unavailable outside of the NHS. We still have that point of difference today, providing a depth and breadth of care not matched within the private sector and with over two decades of practising experience in the UK to guide us.

In the UK, HCA is the only private hospital group to have the highest level of critical care beds in all of its facilities. We positively take on new challenges, in innovation and advancing clinical care. We have a world-class network of over 30 facilities in London and Manchester.

Tell us a bit about the different hospitals included in the HCA UK group.
Our network includes six leading private hospitals in London: The Harley Street Clinic, The Lister Hospital, London Bridge Hospital, The Portland Hospital, The Princess Grace Hospital and The Wellington Hospital. We also have partnerships with leading NHS Trusts, including University College Hospitals in London, Guy’s and St Thomas’, and The Christie; and in 2022 we will open a new hospital in partnership with University Hospitals Birmingham.

We additionally have a number of outpatient centres and specialist clinics, urgent care centres, GP practices, and a clinical trials facility – the Sarah Cannon Research Institute, which specialises in the development of novel cancer therapies by providing clinical research and personalised medicine options for cancer patients throughout the United Kingdom.


What are some of the unique features or facilities offered by HCA UK?
Our network enables us to ensure patients benefit from a seamless healthcare care journey with the flexibility to be seen at the hospital that’s right for them. We have a range of unique state-of-the-art facilities, with patients able to access expert care at our Specialist Neuro Rehabilitation Centre at The Wellington Hospital, which is the largest private centre of its kind in the UK, and we have also recently introduced a dedicated post-COVID recovery service for the rehabilitation of patients with long COVID. HCA is also home to the UK’s only private hospital dedicated to the care of women and children at The Portland in London.

Further, we continually invest into the latest technologies and equipment, so that we can give our patients the most accurate and least invasive diagnosis and treatment. We have access to state-of-the-art DaVinci robots that enable highly accurate minimally invasive surgery at The Princess Grace, The Wellington Hospital, London Bridge Hospital and through our partnership with The Christie in Manchester.

We believe that participation in a clinical trial is the first step in fighting cancer, not the last. The Sarah Cannon Research Institute is the first UK trials unit outside of the NHS that has the ability to offer new anti-cancer drugs in clinical trials. Through the Sarah Cannon Molecular Diagnostic labs, we also provide next generation sequencing genomic testing, including our own in-house MGP-4 test.

Lastly, at HCA we pride ourselves in providing services that are wholly patient centred and seamless, and our HCA UK Concierge Centre, which provides a 24/7 service, acts as the single point of contact across all HCA UK facilities and ensures patients benefit from a rapid response referral for their individual health concerns.

What are the benefits of being located within the Harley Street Medical Area?
The Harley Street Medical Area has endured as a world-renowned destination for healthcare. We’re in some of the most accessible locations in London with excellent public transport links. The proximity to NHS teaching hospitals has also enabled us to partner with consultants known as leaders in their field, meaning we can provide unparalleled choice and expertise for our patients.


You have recently launched the HCA UK Rapid Response Referral service. Tell us more.
Rapid response referral is one of the services we provide through our 24/7 Concierge Centre. The centre, located in Marylebone, is a dedicated service offering premier, bespoke medical pathways for our clients and acts as a single point of contact where all healthcare needs can be met, from initial consultations to screening and diagnosis, second opinions and personal treatment plans. The aim is to obviate the stressful and time-consuming process of finding and arranging your own healthcare.

We know that some patients with the most complex care needs found themselves admitted for care with a level of urgency that didn’t enable them to have that initial choice in their care journey. The Rapid Response Referral Service enables us to quickly, safely, and smoothly transfer a patient to one our hospitals, and under the care of a doctors that are absolute specialists in their field.

It’s the idea of making things super simple – you ring up and you don’t have to worry about which hospital you’re ringing, as we have access to half a dozen hospitals in London and around the country. We also aim to operate round the clock so we can take phone calls from around the world.

We’ve already had our first patient, and that was a very complicated transfer as the patient has a very bad accident and was disabled and on a ventilator. We were able to make all the arrangements despite the difficulties in managing COVID in the UK at the moment, and I think we took a lot of stress away from the family. We also aim to personalise the service – as the receiving doctor I was very happy to speak to the patient’s wife to reassure her and tell her exactly what we could offer and about the treatment the patient was having at the time.

How can a patients access the Rapid Response Referral service?
We have dedicated phone number (+44 (0)20 7616 4999) and email address ( and we aim to respond to all enquires within the hour. Clinical nurse advisors will personally support each patient through their medical journey, providing rapid access to consultants and treatments in our central London hospitals. Safety and excellent clinical care are at the heart of what we do and we have a team of experts involved in every single one of our patients’ care. From intensivists like myself, to the other consultants involved, to the nursing team and those sorting out the logistics, we all work together to give the patient the best possible care and service.

How is the service showcasing the HSMA’s healthcare excellence?
I think the HSMA’s healthcare excellence lies in the skills and the expertise of those working within it. From the consultants from leading teaching hospitals, to the highly trained nursing team, to the other services we provide in our hospitals – this service really brings all that together, treating patients with complex healthcare needs and ensuring that we can act quickly to get them where they feel is the best place for their care.

The UK is a destination for complex care and despite the challenges that the global pandemic has brought, we have been able to establish the safest environments for care. The fact that this service has been successfully launched during this time, and that patients have already benefitted from it, is testament to that.

Dr Adrian Steele, consultant intensivist at the Wellington Hospital shares more about the unique Rapid Referral Service in this short video.