How to build a successful private clinic

From launch at the end of 2016, the success of the One Stop Doctors polyclinic in Hertfordshire is proof that there is still plenty of opportunity in the private health sector.

When Chief Exec, David Harrop, took over the One Stop Doctors clinic in Hemel Hempstead in summer 2017 his remit was to create road map for success that would deliver over the long term.  This is how he achieved it with the help of specialist healthcare agency, Wallace Health.

The initial step was to position the clinic as a ‘hub’ for patients to access primary and secondary care from a high-quality, patient-centric location.  Instead of the patient being siloed into a care setting, One Stop Doctors would offer flexibility of choice and put the patient needs first.  This proved a successful formula for One Stop Doctors – appealing to the increasing number of patients who want to shop around for health care.  It also gained support from the local healthcare community who could see the clinic as complementing their own practices.

Said David, “The private healthcare market is very different outside London.  You need to understand your local patient population and build strong relationships with your stakeholders – as well as offering something that customers really want.”

The next step was to build strategic partnerships in primary and secondary care. This started with a focus on consultant relationships and grow their active consultant list.  The aim was to cover the main specialties, but also bring in some specialist regional and London services.   With a new consultant list under their arm, One Stop Doctors was able to increase return on outreach to the local GP communities.

Says David, “There is a lot of focus on specialist care in London, but the established centres of excellence are looking to increase their reach into the home counties.  This is where most people live, so why would they want to travel to central London to see a consultant?  We offered a high-quality setting to continue that care closer to the patient.”

Clinical quality was a key factor in achieving this goal.  Having previously run London hospitals and operated a transformational acute at-home care franchise for the NHS, David’s credentials helped to attract interest from secondary and tertiary care hospitals.  During this time, the One Stop Doctors imaging team also achieved the ISAS accreditation for imaging quality, one of just 30 in the UK.


The final step was to raise awareness amongst patients.   With all the private operators now focusing on self-pay as a growth sector, One Stop Doctors was challenged to find ways to cut-through the competitive noise.  A fully integrated campaign was designed to achieve maximum coverage of the ABC1 households in clinic catchment.

The campaign included digital marketing with social channels, SEO and SEA, supplemented by more conventional out-of-home, direct mail, press and PR.  Careful targeting and re-targeting optimised OTS (opportunities to see) and response rates rose.

Said David, “Brand awareness works on many levels. Consumers are very knowledgeable about health now, they do their research and choose a provider they feel they can trust – so visibility is important. It also reassures the consultants that you’re investing in them. They need to see that you are committed to increasing patient numbers in their speciality.”



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