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Cleveland Clinic to open its third London facility as Brits flock to private health care

<i>Jenny Matthews/In Pictures/Getty Images</i><br/>US group Cleveland Clinic will open its third London facility this autumn as demand for private health care booms in the United Kingdom.
In Pictures via Getty Images
Jenny Matthews/In Pictures/Getty Images
US group Cleveland Clinic will open its third London facility this autumn as demand for private health care booms in the United Kingdom.

By Hanna Ziady, CNN

US group Cleveland Clinic will open its third London facility this autumn as demand for private health care booms in the United Kingdom — sparked in large part by long wait times to access treatment on the National Health Service (NHS).

The new 13,000-square foot facility will provide patients appointments with general practitioners, diagnostic services including MRI scans and “fast access” to senior physicians, the group said in a statement Wednesday.

“We are excited to be expanding our London footprint with a third location, in the heart of the City of London,” said Tommaso Falcone, interim CEO of Cleveland Clinic London.

Located in the Moorgate area, the new facility will add to the 184-bed hospital and the six-floor clinic that the group opened in the upmarket districts of Belgravia and Marylebone in 2021 and 2022 respectively. So far, almost 60,000 patients have been treated at these facilities.

Cleveland Clinic is one of several major private health care providers expanding rapidly in the United Kingdom to keep up with demand from a much broader swathe of the population than ever before.

Also building new UK facilities this year are HCA Healthcare — another American group — and private hospital group Spire Healthcare.

NHS wait times

The demand is being fueled by long wait times to access care on the NHS. Although it is one of the world’s best-known universal health systems, it has been left in a state of crisis following years of stretched budgets, staff shortages and falling wages.

At the end of November, a record 7.2 million patients in England were waiting for non-urgent medical treatment on the NHS, known as “elective” care. This spans diagnostic tests and scans and procedures such as hip and knee replacements, but also cardiac surgery, cancer treatment and neurosurgery.

Figures published by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) Tuesday showed a sharp increase in vacancies in health and social work between November 2022 and January this year.

The ONS data also revealed pay for public sector workers increased a lot less in the fourth quarter of last year compared to private-sector earnings. These figures were not adjusted for inflation, which is outstripping wage growth.

Responding to the ONS figures, Pat Cullen, the general secretary of the union Royal College of Nursing, said: “It is low pay that is contributing to the staffing crisis and ultimately impacts on the safety of patients. Nurses are leaving the profession in their droves, with many taking similarly paid roles in sectors where they’re not responsible for people’s lives in a crumbling health service.”

Earlier this month, tens of thousands of nurses and nearly 12,000 ambulance workers went on strike over pay and working conditions in the biggest walkout in the 75-year history of the NHS.

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