Health Professions

Putting together an international consortium

By - World Healthcare Journal

Putting together an international consortium

Although the UK is well regarded internationally for its healthcare systems and governance, the system can be very tricky for those looking to access its vast network of knowledge and capabilities. A shortcut for many overseas clients is to consult UKIHMA, the UK International Healthcare Management Association, whose primary goal is to support the delivery of healthcare services internationally.

As a membership association, UKIHMA enables members to rapidly come together to create successful partnerships that combine all the elements of healthcare provision in a single service line offer or complete end-to-end solution.

Offering the skills to plan, design, build and run hospitals and primary care facilities, as well as support services such as quality assurance, technology, IT, commissioning, education and financial service offerings, UKIHMA’s 50 plus members focus on complex multi-specialism opportunities.

“The first thing we do at UKIHMA is verify each opportunity that comes to us,” explains Managing Director Paul Jobson. “This usually involves looking at whether the proposers have the knowledge, experience and the right partners to achieve their vision. We also look at whether there is funding available from the UK and whether it’s a primary country for the UK to be involved in.

“Then I scope out the opportunity with the potential client and, on investigation, it can often be completely different from their original thoughts. For example, building a hospital is a clear goal, but operating it is very different. I try to ascertain whether they are looking for clinical provision, administration support or facilities management. Are they looking to take the risk of ownership of the hospital, or the volume of the hospital, or just a management fee? ” 

Paul Jobson

Once the brief is clear, Paul’s aim is to give all the members the opportunity to join a consortium without too many companies competing among themselves. “What I try to do with the client is turn it from being a potential tender or procurement process to a negotiation with a select group of people. ”

From a client point of view, working with UKIHMA offers them free consultancy and access to a complete turnkey solution. As a not-for-profit members’ organisation, consultants can respond immediately and personally, connecting across the world to provide a quick response to each opportunity. Around 75 per cent of members are shareholders and own the business, and the rest are institutions such as universities or non-foundation trusts that are prevented from ownership by their own constitutions.

In 2018 UKIHMA was presented with 180 opportunities of which 50 per cent were valid concepts representing £4bn worth of potential work. “Much of it is construction and design opportunities – we have two groups of architects – as well as healthcare planning,” he adds.

As a relatively small organisation with tight specialities, UKIHMA has already had significant success in its 2 year history. In early 2018 it won a contract for three new hospitals in Greece, including the country’s first women and children’s hospital in Athens. “We were able to offer midwifery classes as part of the process, and although it’s only a small part of the process it was also significant,” Paul says.

“The project started out with just a healthcare planner, an architect and a little midwifery advice and now it has moved on to requiring facilities management and cost management support. The team fills in as the project progresses to offer support in all the areas we cover. ”

UKIHMA was also able to help Quatari clinicians looking to build a small specialist cancer unit. “They had raised the funds but realised they didn’t have any operational expertise,” says Paul. “We have three members that specialise in this so we entered into a negotiation whereby they effectively interviewed the teams, made a choice and now they have come to terms. Now we are following on with software, IT and FM support. ”

About 40 per cent of UKIHMA members are NHS bodies, but as busy foundation trusts, they are unable to focus exclusively on the commercial aspects of such projects. With this in mind, Paul has devised a consortium format offering consultancy around continuing medical education and clinical governance from top institutions such as Alder Hey Children’s Hospital or Moorfields Eye Hospital, as well as software and supply chain management. “Our project manager will find the right specialist for you and make all the arrangements, so the client is immediately speaking with the right people which is very powerful. ”

UKIHMA can also arrange funding via UKEF for foreign contractors, ensuring that 20 per cent of the work comes from the UK to qualify for the funding. In addition, Paul tries to find partners in the countries the client works in, and will also help with language issues where English is not the main working language.

Even large organisations such as Arup and Mott McDonald are finding UKIHMA membership invaluable, enabling them to connect immediately to partners to form consortia where it might take them twice as long on their own. “And clients know they are talking to people at the right level, getting buy-in from the very top of the organisation, which is extremely helpful and very powerful. ”

To contact UKHIMA email Paul Jobson on

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