Harley Street Medical Area
IN BRIEF - 22ND NOVEMBER 2016
The Harley Street Medical Area continues to be regarded globally as a centre of world class medical excellence, providing cutting-edge facilities within beautiful period buildings.
It used to be that the defining characteristic of the Harley Street Medical Area was the richness of its history: a heritage that stretches back to the 19th century, when medical practitioners first began to congregate in this attractive corner of Marylebone, central London. That sense of heritage remains, embodied by a beautiful Georgian streetscape, but in recent times the past has become less relevant to an area that, instead of looking backwards, has evolved into a thoroughly modern enclave with a global outlook and genuine sense of momentum. This has not happened by accident. In recent decades, the area’s landlord, the Howard de Walden Estate, has made a concerted effort to attract world class medical tenants. It has done this by identifying any gaps in the area’s offering, and approaching those who are most respected in their medical fields, with an emphasis on complex care rather than low cost treatments.
To draw the highest calibre of clinicians, the Estate has needed to offer the highest standard of medical accommodation. This is no easy task in a conservation area, but advances in medical technology, an acute understanding of planning requirements and the acquired experience from its many years as the area’s steward have allowed the Estate, working in tandem with its tenants, to provide cutting edge facilities within beautiful period buildings.
Inevitably, given the size of the medical community, other related services have been drawn to the area too, extending these local networks still further. Physiotherapists, nutritionists, fitness trainers and pharmacists, for example, are all close at hand when their expertise is required. Many significant institutions, including the Royal Society of Medicine, British Dental Association, Royal College of Nursing and Academy of Medical Sciences, are also based in Marylebone, making this a real hub of research and professional support.
In addition, bigger NHS brands such as Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Trust and University College Hospital NHS Trust are already opening private facilities in the Medical Area. “By bringing in private patients from overseas, particularly the more complex cases, the fees charged provide additional cash that can be reinvested in the NHS. Generally, private healthcare in the economy brings in revenue and taxes and helps to retain the best doctors, helping to provide a better healthcare system,” says Simon Baynham, Property Director at the Howard de Walden Estate.
Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the Medical Area—and one with a clear appeal for patients and their families—is that it isn’t an isolated enclave, filled with nothing but doctors. Surrounding the medical buildings, and sharing the same streets with them, are restaurants and cafes, shops and cultural institutions. There are numerous hotels, many of which have developed close ties with the hospitals and clinics and have developed special medical packages. There are quiet parks and attractive streets. For patients undergoing treatment, or for the family and friends supporting them, the Harley Street Medical Area provides an environment that is both comfortable and laden with welcome distractions.
Its Marylebone location provides an unrivalled level of accessibility. Sitting right in the heart of a truly global city, the Medical Area is connected not just with the rest of the UK but with the entire world. It is a short journey from several airports including Gatwick and Heathrow, two of the busiest and best served in Europe. It is closely tied in to London’s vast public transport network and is just a short hop from numerous mainline stations including the Eurostar terminals at London St Pancras International station. With Crossrail due to open on the doorstep in 2018, this is an area unrivalled in its transport connections and convenient travel modes.
In recent years, the Howard de Walden Estate has been working to bring clinicians together to help improve the patient journey and offer a more cohesive service. Many of the area’s institutions have been building strong links with other countries to help them better understand the requirements of international patients, and a number of them are collaborating to provide medical concierge services.
The Estate is building a Harley Street Medical Area website to provide comprehensive listings of the medical excellence in the area. This collective approach, led by the Estate, has allowed the area to improve its profile with patients, practitioners and visitors from around the world which, unlike others in the global medical marketplace, receives no state funding. When it comes to opening doors its famous history certainly helps, but it is the clinical excellence of the Harley Street Medical Area that firmly routes this place as a world-class destination.