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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Why I chose … Working for a private provider

Dr Peter Mace talks about his experience as an assistant medical director at Bupa

Name: Peter Mace

Title: Assistant medical director at Bupa

Location of practice: Based in Staines

Background

After about 10 years of hospital practice, I spent six years as a GP in a single-handed practice in the West Midlands, as well as three years in a group practice.

I loved being a GP but I also began to do some work for a life insurance company that offered me a job in Tunbridge Wells in 1996. In 1999, I began work for Bupa, running a medical assessment centre in King’s Cross – a 50/50 split between clinical work and management.

Then in 2002 I became assistant medical director for Bupa Wellness, as it then was, and my role has developed from there. I took an Open University business course to learn the language of business, and have done leadership training and other training in-house with Bupa.

What I do

I oversee the clinical aspects of work at Bupa Health and Wellbeing, which provides services including health assessments and primary care in 44 centres and via around 250 doctors.

There are senior regional physicians who look after different areas of the country, but I oversee the clinical governance of everything we do. I make sure that health assessments are delivered properly and that the advice patients are given is in line with good clinical practice.

I also manage recruitment processes. We choose doctors carefully, and make sure that doctors are working to a high standard and are properly trained and updated.

Like any medical director, I look at ways of minimising risk from problems that arise from clinical practice (for example, last week we focused on needlestick injuries), and I ensure that any complaints and concerns are dealt with properly. I ensure that policies are kept up to date, that CQC and appraisal requirements are met, and medicines are managed appropriately.

Advising the business on clinical matters is also a key part of my role. When the company is developing new products or new ways of communicating, it makes sure somebody clinical is involved.

Advantages

It is fascinating for me to put together the commercial viewpoint with the medical viewpoint. I work with a bright team!

There is enormous positivity here that I did not always encounter in the NHS. My job is very varied and I’m still able to put my clinical skills into practice, as I do some clinical sessions for Bupa and also some out-of-hours work for the NHS.

I would recommend this type of work. In order to do it, it will help to have a reasonable amount of clinical experience. Some training in business or management might also be an advantage.

Challenges

Challenges include trying to decipher the financial pages of reports, and not getting a half day off every week as I used to in general practice. I’ve not found this much at Bupa  but in a commercial organisation you can potentially be presented with a new business idea that won’t work clinically.

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