The private healthcare system in Wales is thriving. Not only does it save and improve lives, it offers consistent business growth and an excellent return on investment.

Spire lead the way

Major groups such as Spire lead the way. Its Cardiff hospital has a rapid diagnosis breast cancer service, heart centre, colorectal centre and a specialist reproductive health clinic, as well as offering a full range of cosmetic procedures and weight loss services.

Vale Healthcare has centres in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, offering cosmetic, weight loss, sports injury, orthopaedic and non-surgical cosmetic treatments.

Nucleus is central to growth

And Newport-based Nucleus Healthcare goes from strength to strength. It opened its hospital specialising in gastroenterology in 2008, backed partly by initial seed funding from Finance Wales (the Welsh Government’s investment vehicle). In May 2012 the company was bought by US investment firm Palm ventures, who have brought new institutional funding to expand the business further in Wales.

£1.7 billion budget for health infrastructure investment

The publically funded healthcare system also offers major business opportunities in Wales. In healthcare construction, for instance, the “Designed for Life: Building for Wales” framework managed by Welsh Health Estates is a huge piece of privately delivered healthcare infrastructure investment. Effectively, it is a £1.7bn fund over ten years for healthcare projects with a capital value above £6m.

GPs prefer to work in Wales

Nor has the current NHS reorganisation caused the same dislocation in Wales as often in England. A survey commissioned by the Welsh arm of the BMA last year found that 86% of Wales’ 5,000 GPs were glad to be working in Wales in light of the changes being made to the NHS in England.

Yet the more traditional Welsh model still allows for exciting collaborations between the Welsh NHS and private healthcare businesses. For instance, the bespoke predictive modelling commissioned from BUPA health dialog by NHS Wales. BUPA health dialog designed a model for population-wide risk stratification tailored specifically to the Welsh population and health system. It accurately predicts the likelihood of an unplanned admission to secondary care in the next twelve months.

Wales leads the way in medical research and equipment

On the medical research side, international groups investing in Wales include GE Healthcare and Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, which recently shifted the bulk of its manufacturing and European distribution operations from Los Angeles to Llanberis.

Healthcare is among the fastest growing and the biggest businesses in the world. And Wales is right in the vanguard.