Interview: Dr Rajgopal Thirumalai, Vice President, Global Medical & Occupational Health, Unilever

Unilever runs a global health and prevention programme in over 90 countries for its 169,000  employees. How? What does Dr Thirumalai (known as Dr Raj) think of the private healthcare services sector? And what changes does he expect in the future? And what does he expect from digital health and AI? Dr Raj is also a non-executive independent director of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise and a speaker at HBI 2018 on April 10-11 in London.

HBI 2017: Central European brain drain – and how to stop it

One of the major problems faced by operators in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is brain drain - but how do you stop staff leaving for better paid jobs in the West, and if they do leave, how do you tempt them back? Healthcare Europa asked three leading CEE CEOs that very question at HBI 2017. This is their advice.

Interview: Attila Vegh, CEO, Penta Hospitals Group

By 2025 Penta Hospitals Group (PHG) owned by private equity house Penta Investments, plans to more than triple sales to over €1bn. But growth could be even faster, says its new CEO, Attila Vegh, a former boss of three large English NHS hospital trusts. The real ambition of the group, a merger of Svet Zdravia in Slovakia, the Polish chain EMC and Penta’s hospitals in Czech Republic, is even greater than the sales forecasts suggest. Much of the growth he says will come from working with the public sector. Vegh says that Penta wants to be “a disrupter, a company which introduces best practice and innovation,” thus persuading public payors to rethink their attitude to the private sector. So how do you do that in a region which is becoming increasingly statist and hostile to international capitalism?

Priel and ARX buy Slovenian diagnostic hospital

Healthcare investor and entrepreneur, Joseph Priel, and private equity firm, ARX Partners, have purchased Slovenian hospital DCB (Diagnostic Centre Bled) from family owners. This is believed to be the first big private healthcare services deal in the country. Priel's businesses are now active in at least four countries.

Permira to build new imaging services provider

Private equity house Permira is backing a merger between Mesa Medical, a Pan-European supplier of third party maintenance and used imaging kit, and Asteral, which is the largest provider of managed equipment services around imaging equipment in the UK. The deal will alarm suppliers like Siemens, GE and Philips.

Bribery in healthcare

The vast majority of bribes paid by citizens in Europe have to do with access to healthcare, according to an EU anti-corruption report. Healthcare and pharma businesses in Europe are also the most likely of any industry, with 77% agreeing, to think that corruption is widespread in their country. The report puts the total cost of corruption in the EU at €120bn - a little less than the annual EU budget. We look at the underlying numbers.

New funding planned for Slovenian nursing home sector

Since our last review of Slovenia, the country seems to have seen huge private sector growth. The number of beds in nursing homes has climbed to just under 20,000, up from under 1,000 beds a couple of years ago, as the government plays fast and loose with concession hand-outs. Yet these numbers might be misleading. Boris Koprivnikar, of the Association of Social Institutions of Slovenia, explains why the nursing home sector is not progressing, despite appearances, and what is being done to resolve this.

Report: Care homes in Eastern Europe

If the differences between East and West Europe are big in hospitals, in the care home sector they are often a gaping chasm. Apart from Slovenia, the private sector remains all but non-existent or in fragmented into mom’n’pop businesses across the region. But changes are coming, as countries start to open the sector to private investors and start to restructure hospitals, which often contain many of the infirm elderly, who would be in care homes in the West.

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