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Ten Tips for Successful Hospital Management


The position of Manager at Optegra Manchester Eye Hospital really is a wonderful job. No two days are the same: from the first day, which I spent visiting the building site where the hospital was meant to be, to today, which has included writing this article among myriad activities. The variety is amazing, from project-managing building work, through recruitment and training of staff and identifying best treatments, to devising policies and protocols that ensure the smooth running of a highly complex enterprise. Here are some of the key things I’ve learned along the way.

1.Make the patient your focus

Patients, and their positive experiences, must be at the heart of everything – it’s the only way you can genuinely judge your operation to be a successful one. To foster this patient-centered ethic, every single member of the staff must appreciate and practice it as their central value, and that starts with recruiting the right people, and getting their training and development spot-on.

2. Share best practice…

Our group operates 23 hospitals and outreach clinics in the UK, which provides a wonderful opportunity to share what works well, and draw on the breadth of experiences within the network and beyond. This is formalized through continual professional development. It’s not only clinicians that need this, we all do!

3. … and access expertise

The members of our senior management team possess a range of skills in business, clinical practice and pharmaceutical development. When a colleague develops something innovative, we share and adopt it using both formal (via monthly senior management meetings) and informal (support, advice and guidance) channels.

4. Recruit carefully

The right team is essential. At the Optegra Manchester Eye Hospital I hand-picked people who would deliver the best possible service. Spending a considerable amount of time and effort on this is essential to ensure that the culture of the hospital was what we wanted it to be, from Day One.

5. Don’t think that “team building” is a cliché

Training everyone together – which some might consider to be a mistake – can be a massively beneficial experience. It helps strong relationships to develop from the outset, and achieves an understanding of, and support for, the company ethos. The vast majority of the original team still work here today and that’s a testament to the success of the team-building process.

6. Care for your consultants

I have the privilege of working with some of the UK’s leading ophthalmic surgeons, and my aim is simply to make life as easy as possible for them. When they come to this hospital, we do everything that we can to reduce hassle and just let them do a fantastic job with the patients.

7. Use the consultant networks

Our consultants are based throughout the country, and have strong professional networks. This helps keep them – and me – abreast of improvements in patient care. Consultant-led developments can quickly be implemented across our network of hospitals. As an example, a proposal at one hospital for a new technology or drug is shared swiftly across the network, rather than having to be repeated at each individual hospital.

8. Remember community outreach

Patients like having their procedures performed in our hospitals, but some would prefer to have follow-ups that take place in a clinic closer to home. By enabling this through a network of outreach clinics in the community, we again put patient needs at the heart of what we do.

9. Establish specialist status

Real credibility and expertise is demonstrated by the service given to patients on a daily basis, but it can be highlighted by market positioning. For example, our consultants have extensive experience with a variety of AMD therapeutic modalities, such as Oraya Therapy and CentraSight; this clearly demonstrates our capabilities, so we aim to get the message out about them.

10. Remember that practical management is key

You have to be able to react quickly to any eventuality: it could be capacity management, juggling schedules to optimize the facility or being vigilant from a governance perspective. But being nimble and able to turn your hand to things at short notice isn’t enough; at the same time, you must appear as the calm figure-head of the hospital, so that everyone can get on with doing a fantastic job without distraction. The real secret to this can be simply put: stay on top of things and enjoy yourself.

Caroline McHugh is Hospital Manager of the Optegra Manchester Eye Hospital, in Didsbury, UK.

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About the Author
Caroline McHugh

Caroline McHugh is Hospital Manager of the Optegra Manchester Eye Hospital, in Didsbury, Manchester, UK. Caroline has two decades of experience from BUPA, where she worked in various guises within the insurance and hospitals businesses in the UK and abroad, and she joined Optegra in 2010 to launch a brand new specialist eye hospital in the North West of the UK.

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