It's interesting to see the Economist comment on the shortage of GPs in the UK, despite it being 'the most important job in the country'. According to the Nuffield Trust, a think-tank, there are 58 GPs per 100,000 people, down from 66 in 2009—the first sustained fall since the 1960s.
As freely available access to GPs becomes rationed, and non-urgent procedures that were once available on the NHS are restricted (examples include removal of benign skin lesions, breast reduction and tonsillectomy), individuals increasingly look towards privately available solutions. Patients know that whilst they are forced to self-fund treatments they can be seen by a specialist at their preferred time and have their suspected ailment dealt with swiftly and appropriately.
This has naturally led to increased viability of business models in this space, as privately funded operators offer more and more services that were previously publicly funded.
We continue to identify positive dynamics within this attractive market, and our recent transaction on securing TriSpan as an investor into skincare specialist, Sk:n Clinics, is testament to this. The Sk:n Group has since taken its first steps in its growth strategy, acquiring Destination Skin. These bolt-on acquisitions give clients an enhanced offering whilst strengthening the portfolio of the investor.
Further strategic and financial investors are watching this market with significant interest.
THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE is free, so it is also rationed. Family doctors, known as general practitioners (GPs), act as the first port of call for patients; friendly gatekeepers to the rest of the service who refer people to specialists only if needed. But in some parts of the country, including St Austell on the Cornish coast, access to the rationers is itself now rationed. “You can’t book an appointment to see me here,” explains Stewart Smith, a 39-year-old GP, one of a team in charge of an innovative new medical centre. “You go on a list and then we triage you.”