The Challenge

We were appointed to help HCA Healthcare UK appoint its first Advisory Board. The biggest private healthcare group in the world, HCA is also the largest provider of privately funded healthcare in the UK. Care is delivered through a network of specialist centres in the UK and HCA works in partnership with the NHS, providing private patient units in a number of leading NHS trusts. Given the uncertain and challenging time for the UK and particularly the health sector, HCA sought to create a structure to ensure it was making the most effective contribution by continuing to set the right strategic aims. For this reason, the Advisory Board was created to provide guidance to help HCA steer the development and growth of the business.

Our approach and success

We were first asked to assist in the search for the Chair of the Advisory Board. Although this person would have no official governance responsibility, the Chair would have a role in shaping the rest of the Advisory Board while providing strategic guidance to the Executive. Our search was broad, we contacted individuals working within highly regarded and complex NHS organisations. We also searched across the wider health sector, specifically for those with experience within insurers, pharma, education or private health. Within government, we considered individuals within the Department of Health, NHS England, relevant regulators and contacted former permanent secretaries with strong networks across government who could potentially add value to either regulation or business policy, or both. In the end, Ed Smith, the former Chairman of NHS Improvement and Deputy Chair of NHS England was appointed.

For the Advisory Member roles, we searched for individuals who could bring experience from biomedical scientific research, pharmaceuticals, consumer services (particularly those at the high end of the market) and regulation. Our search delved deeply into the commercial sector and six candidates were shortlisted. In the end, the following individuals were appointed:

  • Beverley Aspinall, ex MD of Fortnum & Mason and NED of Foyles;
  • Professor Sir Robert Lechler, Executive Director of King’s Health Partners AHSC and Senior Vice-President Health of King’s College London; and
  • Dame Shirley Pearce, Chair of LSE and NED of HEE.

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