Fuelling debate


Simon Baynham, property director of The Howard de Walden Estate, on what the Estate’s upcoming medical conference reveals about the ethos of the HSMA

As this periodical makes abundantly clear, the primary function of the Harley Street Medical Area is to be a place where medicine is practised to the highest possible standards. But it is also notable for being a place where medicine is thought about and talked about with similar levels of acuity.
This is nothing new: Marylebone has been a centre of medical discussion and learning for over a century. The Royal Society of Medicine moved into its impressive Wimpole Street headquarters in 1912 and has gone on to become one of the most important institutions in British medicine, both as a provider of postgraduate medical education and as an independent, apolitical platform for informed debate about healthcare. Its programme of discussions, conferences and seminars is of a size, quality and diversity unmatched elsewhere in the country.
Other professional bodies have also been drawn to the area, o§ering their own similarly respected forms of accreditation and education and providing regular opportunities for practitioners to gather together and share ideas. These include The Royal College of Physicians, The Royal College of Nursing and The British Dental Association. The Academy of Medical Sciences, one of the world’s leading biomedical and health research institutions, arrived on Portland Place a few years ago, adding yet another string to the area’s bow.

As the Harley Street Medical Area’s landlord and steward, The Howard de Walden Estate has done whatever it can to embed a culture in which research and debate are given due prominence. Over the years, we have sought out medical tenants that take a progressive, research-based approach to their clinical practice. We have worked closely with the area’s professional bodies and research institutions, providing facilities for both the RSM and the Academy of Medical Sciences. By hosting regular medical forums and leading HSMA delegations to global conferences, we have sought to bring our hospitals and clinics together to collaborate, share knowledge, and pick up ideas from far beyond the area’s boundaries.

As a landlord with roots in the area that go back several centuries, the Estate has a thoroughly ingrained understanding of how important it is not merely to focus on the present but to understand the challenges and opportunities that will shape the future. It may be rather unusual for a landlord to be openly interested in medical education, research and professional development, but then it is also unusual for a landlord to be so thoroughly invested in how the country’s healthcare and life sciences environment is set to evolve in the decades to come. Later this year, the Estate’s commitment to this sphere will be clearly on display when we host our ¨rst ever medical conference. Taking place on 31st October at the Royal Society of Medicine, this one-day event is designed to facilitate a wide-ranging discussion about the future of the UK medical sector, both public and private. An impressive roster of speakers and panellists, whose collective expertise covers clinical practice, medical research, governance, politics and economics, will explore the many challenges that are expected to confront healthcare providers in the coming decades—including issues related to demographics, the political landscape, the wider economy, and the competitive nature of global healthcare—and consider the innovations that are likely to shape their responses.

The invited audience will include representatives from a wide range of medical institutions, hospitals and clinics, from within The Harley Street Medical Area and from further a¨eld, together with a selection of academics, administrators and journalists.

The event will be chaired by The Rt Hon Professor Lord Kakkar, professor of surgery at University College London and a crossbench member of the House of Lords—a man with a truly exceptional pedigree both as a doctor and a thought-

leader. He has been instrumental in gathering together the event’s speakers, de¨ning its themes and ensuring that what results from the day represents a meaningful contribution to the collective understanding of the future of medicine. His role does not end there. In 2017, Lord Kakkar joined the board of The Howard de Walden Estate—a signi¨cant appointment that will do much to ensure that our forward-thinking, outward-looking approach to the medical area continues to evolve. It is our intention that medicine will continue to be thought about and talked about on Harley Street for centuries to come.


The Howard de Walden Estate

23 Queen Anne Street

London W1G 9DL