Five minutes with Annabelle Neame, Director of International Business Development for HCA UK

The Harley Street Medical Area is made up of an array of fantastic businesses, organisations and practices. Each month, we spend some time getting to know one of the people that call Harley Street home.

This week, we’re meeting Annabelle Neame, Director of International Business Development for HCA UK.

Thanks for joining us, Annabelle. Can you tell us a little bit about your work at HCA Concierge Centre?

I’m involved in many business development initiatives across the HCA hospital network (6 hospitals, 17 outpatient centres, 5 urgent care centres, 900 inpatient beds, 125 critical care beds) and corporate functions, with a focus on bringing in new business for HCA. In particular, I focus on increasing health tourism into London.

What services does the HCA Concierge Centre offer exactly?

We launched HCA Concierge Centre at the beginning of the year. 

The HCA Concierge Centre is a dedicated service offering premier, bespoke medical pathways for our clients. Located in Marylebone, our centre provides 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.

Our services are wholly patient-centred and seamless, obviating the stressful and time-consuming process of finding and arranging your own healthcare. Our utmost priority is supporting patient health and wellbeing, and we will ensure patients are treated with dignity and respect at all times. The concierge team will arrange all appointments with consultants and liaise with representative offices or embassies in London to confirm our patients’ medical cover.

Clinical Nurse Advisors will personally support each patient through their medical journey, providing rapid access to consultants and treatments in our central London hospitals. Our activity is supported by our Medical Advisory Committee; a multidisciplinary panel of clinicians who are leaders in their field.

The excellence of healthcare delivery is assured by HCA UK’s best practice governance framework, which reflects uncompromising patient safety standards. Many of HCA UK’s services have achieved a Care Quality Commission highest rating of ‘Outstanding.’

Describe your average day. 

The beauty of my job is that no two days are the same and absolutely anything can happen. We never know who is going to be referred to Concierge Centre or from where. I am extremely fortunate to have a job where I have one foot in the clinical camp and one in the corporate office. I love both aspects, but get a daily reminder of why I work in healthcare by maintaining patient contact. It is a privilege to be able to guide patients and their families through their healthcare journey when they are at their most vulnerable.

I lead a team of highly qualified team of Clinical Nurse Specialists and Concierge/Patient Liaison officers. I’m extremely proud of the team and the work they do. The ethos is very much “yes we can do that”!

We troubleshoot some really complex issues, particularly when transferring patients from ICU to ICU internationally often in traumatic circumstances. The team are compassionate and professional and on a daily basis go above and beyond, exceeding all expectations.

How did you get to where you are today? 

I started my healthcare career training as a nurse at St Thomas Hospital. I’m grateful for the basis this training gave me, enabling me to understand healthcare from the ground up. I started working at HCA as a staff nurse in 1992 at The Lister Hospital and have gradually worked my way into becoming Director of Business Development. I have had various other jobs in between, but HCA has been a great organisation to support me in realising my ambitions.

How has Covid-19 impacted your organisation?  

The organisation was really proactive in shifting its focus to work with NHS. We are all proud of the work that was done at the facilities to support the NHS during this time. It was challenging for everyone but the executive leadership team did an outstanding job in making things happen to support the work we undertook. All of our hospitals and workers contributed hugely to the fight against Covid-19 and everyone seemed to pull together through this time.

What do you like most about being based on Harley Street?  

It has a wonderful sense of community, it’s all about healthcare and the world-class consultants and private Hospitals that the UK has to offer.

You can’t walk down the street without bumping into someone you know from this community. It feels like home.

What are your thoughts on the future of the Harley Street Area?  

We should all be shouting about this area in order to attract more health tourism. I think we all have a role to play in communicating more effectively what London has to offer for international patients.

By collaborating with our competitors and all working together, we could see London becoming one of the top destinations for health tourism. I’d like to see even more collaborations and partnerships between providers and other sectors in the area.

How does the Harley Street Medical Area Partnership support your business? 

Networking opportunities encourages partnerships, provides a sense of community and pride in the area.

How could a visitor to the area spend their time here?  

Marylebone has everything, even I rarely feel the need to visit other parts of London, to be honest!

It has shopping, restaurants, clubs, hotels, wellness, gyms, and an excellent cohort of hospitals and consultants covering every speciality you could imagine.

Any particular recommendations or hidden gems? 

I love The Marylebone Hotel – I spend far too much time there!

If you could describe the Harley Street area in three words, what would they be?   

Community, innovation, excellence