Cleveland Clinic sparks recruitment war for orthopedic, neurology specialists in the UK

Alan Condon -   Print  |
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Cleveland Clinic has ignited a recruitment battle by offering high fixed salaries for top physicians in London, where it plans to open a private hospital next year, according to the Financial Times.

The health system is attracting specialists in orthopedics, neurology and cardiology with salaries of about $413,000 to $481,000 a year for working two days a week, staff from rival hospital chains told the publication.

Typically, private hospitals in the U.K. use physicians employed by the state-funded National Health Service who work in their spare time on a fee-for-service basis. Cleveland Clinic is operating on a different level by employing 270 physicians on fixed salaries.

Cleveland Clinic London's compensation packages are driving up specialist pay, but the health system said its physicians are "paid the market rate, factoring in their skills, clinical outcomes and breadth of their role," according to the report. Most specialist roles with Cleveland Clinic would be part-time, which allows physicians to continue to work for the NHS.

In London, consultants usually have privileges at about five private hospitals and work wherever they find patients, which benefitted hospitals because if there weren't any patients in a given week or month, they would not have to pay the consultants.

"However, by employing them directly for all their non-NHS work, whether or not there are patients, Cleveland Clinic is taking the financial risk of finding enough patients to keep the consultant busy," Ted Townsend, an analyst at healthcare intelligence company LaingBuisson, told the Financial Times.

Cleveland Clinic, which has 19 hospitals and 220 outpatient facilities worldwide, believes that hiring staff on fixed contracts will promote continuity of care, teamwork and high-quality care as physicians are not paid according to their number of surgeries, procedures or patients. 

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