woman smiling while on phone in a dark office
woman smiling while on phone in a dark office
30th Sep 2022

Lifecare Concierge Managers around the world share their experiences of providing a uniquely personal service to their Private Clients.

It is often said that time is one of the most precious commodities we have. With all the competing pressures we face in day-to-day life, from family commitments to work that spans continents and time zones as well as living life to the full, there can feel like little of it left in the day.

The way we maintain peak performance is to keep ourselves finely tuned. Instead of waiting for that moment when our body or mind tells us there’s something wrong (often, by that stage, in pain), it pays to keep ourselves checked up by professionals, from routine health care checks to screenings and scans. Staying well can save us time in the long run.

But time is the thing that can often hold us back from booking and attending routine appointments. Research by Private Client by Bupa, the premium international health insurer, found that more than half (52%) of high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) struggle to find the time to deal with issues relating to their health and wellbeing and a similar number (49%) said that although they had been unwell in the last 12 months, they had not had time to seek medical assistance1.

Which is where Private Client by Bupa steps in, offering proactive lifecare provision that includes checks and scans and preventative treatments you can use to help prevent illnesses, rather than just treat them. The top-tier Ultimate plan comes with a uniquely valuable benefit – a Lifecare Concierge Manager - a person on the end of a phone call or email who makes it their mission to keep on top of their Private Client’s health and wellbeing; from routine healthcare appointments, to managing wellness treatments when they travel, to sorting out emergency medical care.

It is something HNWIs around the world desperately need: according to the survey, two thirds said they would benefit from having one-to-one assistance to organise their health appointments and treatments2.

“Our clients are extremely busy people, and they need their health to be the absolute best it can be,” Zoe Sherry, a Private Client Service Manager who manages the UK team of Lifecare Concierge Managers, says. “Whether we’re helping to schedule appointments that pre-empt an illness or time off work, or helping them find treatment or recovery services post treatment, we’re on hand. The way I see it is we’re part of our customer’s wider support team; just as they have a team of people at home or in their office, we’re the ones supporting them to keep on top of their health and wellness.”

Teams of Lifecare Concierge Managers based around the world, including the UK, China and Hong Kong, are allocated to a client in their country, available as a single point of contact. “We proactively learn a customer's background when they become our member, such as resident city, family member structure, pre-existing conditions and preference about medical facility, to build the foundation of good service,” a Lifecare Concierge Manager in the Private Client team in China says. “The members really like just being able to call and say a password and for us to already know the medical history,” one UK Concierge Manager adds. “It’s a much quicker, easier and more personal service.” Personalised to the individual's needs, the way Private Clients use their Lifecare Concierge Manager might differ – but above all, it is about keeping their health and wellbeing in prime condition. “Since the pandemic we’ve seen a huge increase in people really wanting to take care of their health, including trying to prevent future illness,” Sherry says.

If a client was going on a work trip or a holiday, Sherry says their PA might reach out to inform the Lifecare Concierge Manager. As well as looking into pre-flight vaccinations that might be necessary, the concierge can take care of the treatments that ease their client into a new time zone, “from IV drips to help with jet lag and a sports massage when you land to ease the aches of a long-haul flight.”

In times of crisis, the Concierge team are treated as a first port of call. “I recently had a member call me with acute symptoms and I arranged a GP to go to their home within four hours,” one Concierge Manager says. “The GP immediately sent them to hospital, and they had surgery the next day. Unfortunately, the member had some complications a week later, but I was able to help them again. They contacted me afterwards, sending a lovely thank you message for the smooth and swift service at a time when they were really unwell; they really appreciated the support.”

That kind of service does not happen without an expert behind the scenes knowing 'how to get you the treatment you need, when you need it'.

According to the latest available data3, the total number of people waiting for consultant-led elective treatment in the UK increased to over 5.3m in May 2021, the highest level since records began, while the British Medical Association estimates that millions of elective procedures and outpatient attendances were missed between April 2020 and May 20214. Instead, Private Clients – wherever they are in the world – can get the latest medical advice and get seen by medical professionals as quickly as possible. Should an individual need serious help, the concierge is on hand.

“From the moment they feel unwell, we are there to help working out what they need next,” Sherry says. “We work very closely with teams of clinicians, so we can tap into their extensive knowledge to get the best possible advice for our clients, even putting them in direct touch with the experts themselves if the client wants it.”

The service even includes researching revolutionary new treatments. Sherry describes how during the pandemic, clients from outside the UK were asking their concierges about an antiviral treatment that was available on the NHS. “While this treatment was only available in the UK, we researched for one particular customer who was travelling to Greece and found different treatment options in Athens that they could explore.”

The personal service extends beyond finding acute care – Sherry says the team are trained to “proactively check in on what the member needs. If they’ve had surgery, for example, we know that the member might need a course of physiotherapy, so we will start to research options.”

The personal relationship that develops is one of trust and support, on a very human level. “Recently someone in my team was looking after a member who was a mother whose baby twins were poorly,” Sherry adds. “My colleague sent her a bunch of flowers because she felt like she just really needed a little boost.”

A key part of the plan is keeping clients as fit and healthy as possible, so the Lifecare Concierge Manager will keep on top of their client’s routine checks – things that can be time-consuming to arrange and easily fall down the priority list. “We aim to be proactive about our members’ healthcare and wellness,” Sherry says. “We can look into whether a client has had an eye test in the last year, for example, or needs a routine check-up. Often you need invoices and receipts and your insurance documents just to book these appointments. But with our service, the Lifecare Concierge Manager already has the full picture of their client, and we can get it done without the extra hassle.”

If time is a barrier for even getting to the doctor’s surgery, the Lifecare Concierge Manager has a solution. “Some people can’t make time to get to their GP in surgery hours, so we can arrange for a doctor to come to their workplace or home, if necessary,” Sherry says.

The Lifecare Concierge Manager’s role is not to minimise claims, but to maximise the benefits their clients can gain from their private health insurance. “If they have dental benefit available, for example, the Lifecare Concierge Manager will see if they can book them or perhaps their children in for an appointment. They can co-ordinate with a PA if needed, to make it as seamless as possible. We don’t want our clients to get run down or poorly; we know that they need to be on top form health-wise so they can keep living their busy lives.”

Private Client by Bupa is helping to support people to feel their best and stay that way too.

1 According to research conducted by Censuswide in July 2021 among 252 high net worth individuals with assets/ income of £1 million + (excluding main home).

2 According to research conducted by Censuswide in July 2021 among 252 high net worth individuals with assets/ income of £1 million + (excluding main home).

3 Nuffield Trust August 2022 – NHS performance summary

4 BMA August 2022 – NHS Backlog data analysis