08 October 2020

The Changing Face Of A Cosmetic Surgery Business


Transform Hospital Group undergoes its own transformation in a COVID world 

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has slowed things down – from major industries such as travel, to NHS waiting lists, to the pace of our everyday lives. But for some businesses the crisis has accelerated plans and turned evolution into revolution. 

Transform Hospital Group, led by CEO Tony Veverka, has seen its business completely pivot in the last six months. 

Traditionally specialising in cosmetic and bariatric surgery and medical aesthetics, the business is used to transforming its patients, but has gone through its own metamorphosis to emerge as a more rounded healthcare provider and key partner for the NHS.  

Tony Veverka says: “We have essentially seen a turnaround in our business model in two to three months that should have taken two to three years. We were on a path of evolution, but the pandemic has forced a revolution. And our survival has depended on our ability to adapt exceptionally quickly. 

“When the virus hit we were in the early stages of extending our capabilities beyond ‘pure play’ cosmetic surgery, weight loss interventions and medical aesthetics – our vision was to become a much more general healthcare and wellbeing provider. Suddenly we had no choice but to do just that, and at pace – it was sink or swim.  

“We have long believed that healthcare in the UK must adopt a more integrated, localised approach to provide the best experience and outcome for patients – that has now come into sharp focus and the pandemic has allowed us the opportunity to test that belief. In a matter of days back in April we had overhauled our operations to partner with the NHS and welcome patients to our hospitals for procedures such as cancer surgery which would otherwise have been postponed.” 

The partnership was very successful and Transform Hospital Group has now extended local NHS partnerships at The Pines hospital near Manchester and Burcot Hall hospital near Birmingham to carry out procedures such as cancer-related breast reconstructiondermatology surgery and upper and lower GI operations for at least the next six months. 

Mr Veverka continues: “We have emerged from the pandemic with much broader capabilities, and with improved resilience and agility. Our work with the NHS has shown what we can do – from cancer surgery and maxillofacial procedures, to orthopaedics and general surgery. These new business areas have been accelerated and will provide vital new revenue streams from private partners and patients, aside from our NHS work. 

“The health service support we have provided has also motivated and stimulated our workforce – they feel they are playing their part in the coronavirus effort and enjoy the work. This has yet more business benefits as it makes us a more attractive place to work and a better employer.” 

Mr Veverka believes there are important business lessons to be learned from the pandemic and that the very future of healthcare businesses has itself been transformed by COVID. 

He says: “Our core business areas were forced to completely shut down for several months – this was a tough lesson in reinvention being absolutely key. Those in a similar position who have not reinvented themselves simply must, or risk going under. 

“As we move into a ‘new reality’ we see independent healthcare providers like ourselves faced with a significant opportunity – but also a careful balancing act. 

As the NHS links up with independent partners at a local level to offer a whole systems approach to healthcare that offers the best, most timely service to patients, this offers huge incentive for private providers to rethink their business models. The private sector is used to being transparent, accountable, and efficient with spending and so can offer good value to the health service if standards are enforced and there is not a ‘race to the bottom’.  

There are clear benefits for both parties, but independent providers must learn to carefully balance NHS partnerships with their private patient work. Our core areas of cosmetic and bariatric surgery and medical aesthetics have now bounced back with gusto – we must not let that opportunity pass us by.  

“In fact just last month we invested a six figure sum in the bariatric surgery capacity at our Burcot Hall hospital – both to cope with the rising private demand, but in anticipation of the Government heeding our call to allow the NHS to use the independent sector to increase the UK’s capabilities in this area. 

“This shows our commitment to this new future – where our core client is catered to and developed, in tandem with widening our scope to support the NHS. This blended approach is at the heart of our new business outlook – not only because it makes commercial sense, but because it is the right thing to do for patients, and the nation, as we continue to navigate the pandemic.”