My reflections of 2021 – Andrew Lennox, Group CEO

Andrew Lennox, Group CEO for Medical Imaging Partnership and Prime Health shares his summary of 2021.

If 2020 displayed the magic of the company that is our team, then 2021 is the year that our team and supporting consultant colleagues stepped up even higher, and built an incredible platform for our patients and for our future. Time and time again they redefined what was perceived as possible and through all their long hours and hard work, remained exemplary healthcare professionals. What they delivered in 2021 is a very exciting step up from any pre-pandemic vision that we had. Let me tell you more about it…

At the end of 2020 many had hoped to be writing of anything other than COVID-19 in 2021, but unsurprisingly it has continued to dominate headlines over the past 12 months with the year having its own share of lockdowns and restrictions. 2021 saw new variants adding their own twists and turns to the story, but it was with the excitement and positivity that started with the building momentum of vaccination roll-outs and then further hope with subsequent booster jabs. It has been a very different year.

With the pandemic has come enormous tragedy for many which we should never forget or fail to learn from, but as I look around me I can see that the adversity has driven us to innovate and grow as we strive for a return to “normality”. But we should not forget, innovation and growth by definition mean that we will have moved on from whatever utopia we believed we had pre-pandemic to something new that has the potential to lift us all.

It is that emerging “new” that symbolizes what I have seen in 2021.

Since the early knockings of January 2021, each area of our company has responded to an increasing level of challenge in the healthcare world. For many of our colleagues in the NHS, the spotlight moved away from immediate response and returned to a more business as usual footing – but that footing still had significant restrictions with red and green pathways halving capacity in some areas – so the support we were to provide had to step up further in support of the system.

We entered the year on the back of placing orders for additional scanner capacity (2 MRIs and 2 CTs) which started to be delivered mid-year, but waiting around for capacity to be delivered is not what we do, and we have seen teams innovate to improve scan efficiency and accuracy to allow more patients to be seen. With the diligence and effort of the whole team, we were able to support 63,000 patients to have diagnostic imaging (up 60% on our pre-pandemic levels) and saw similar increases and volumes again in our outpatient and GP settings.

Wherever we had spare capacity, we offered it up for use by the system; we launched new services with new modalities and clinical options; we helped develop and deliver innovation in data exchange with key partners, and we opened up new avenues for staffing by becoming an approved Skilled Worker Visa sponsor for healthcare.

Our innovation was not limited to the here and now; we put in place long term plans to grow capacity and support placing further orders for MRI and CT capacity out to 2023, and we have put in place the first building blocks for Radiology Apprenticeships and extended scope practitioners. All in all, it has been an exciting year building for the future, and it has not stopped there.

As we watched our markets emerge from the COVID block contracts and restrictions on access, at the mid-year point we knew that the time was right to align our brands, Medical Imaging Partnership and Prime Health, with the distinct market needs.

Through our relaunched Medical Imaging Partnership (MIP) brand we formalised our managed services support for the NHS and private hospital groups – winning places on key frameworks for the future, and have worked ceaselessly with local NHS provider trusts and partner organisations to help set the system for the coming years and we are especially proud of MIP being recognized as the Diagnostic Provider of the Year at the prestigious HealthInvestor Awards 2021

On the private front, our relaunched Prime Health brand has added two clinics to its portfolio and has been able to support significant activity in both self-pay and insured markets as people look to take the strain off of the NHS by using the independent sector. Our Private GP services have been able to support more patients seeking face to face interaction with their Doctors, and all of our centres have been able to provide capacity to the NHS through our network of 3T MRI scanners.

My pride in our team continues to grow every day, and as I look to 2022 it is set to be incredible. Our patient and clinician experience is set for an upgrade with improved facilities at several sites; our quality account for 2021 is set to be published, Our team have the first of eleven new scanners arriving in the first few weeks of the year, and we have new contracts starting almost immediately in January.

Exciting times ahead…

Andrew Lennox

Group CEO for Medical Imaging Partnership and Prime Health

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