A Conversation with Richard Armitage, NHS Director at Optegra Eye Hospital

For today’s thought-leadership piece, we are excited to get together with Mr Richard Armitage who is the NHS Director at Optegra Eye Hospital UK. Richard joined Optegra in 2018, bringing in a wealth of experience in the healthcare space varying from Nuffield Health to hospital management in Cambridge and Warwick, as well as business development and sales roles. At Doctify, we are all about delivering transparency and excellence to our healthcare partners and their patients alike. On our quest to become the first globally recognised feedback platform, our healthcare providers and excellence-seeking professionals elevate our mission with their expertise and outlook for better healthcare systems globally.  We hope you enjoy our conversation with Richard. 

Thank you for joining us for this conversation today. We are curious to find out about the reasons why you chose a career in healthcare, what would you say was your motivation to work in the healthcare sector?

My attraction for working in this field came from an original interest in health and fitness and want to work in that sector simply because I enjoyed it and that was positive and good for my wellbeing. My early career was very much sales and operations and there was a natural progression out of gyms and into hospitals as the sectors started to integrate and healthcare became more holistic. Being part of a business that actively improves people’s quality of life is very rewarding.

It’s evident that you wore multiple hats within the industry and was exposed to many verticals, how would you describe the path you took to get to where you are today?

Throughout school and university I never really had a clear vision of what career path I wanted to take, and so I kept my options open and took opportunities when they arose. Early on in my career, I found I both enjoyed and had a talent for selling, and so spent a number of years working in, and leading, sales and commercial teams in health clubs and gyms. The roles were fun and rewarding and I enjoyed promoting a product I believed in. I have always been very ambitious and keen to progress and allow me to continue to climb the career ladder. I moved around the country a lot to take on ever-increasing senior roles. I have spent the last 5 years working in, and running private Hospitals in Cambridge, Warwick, Birmingham and London, and now find myself in the fantastic position of leading our NHS business for Optegra Eye Healthcare.

“As for challenges, no one can overlook the last 12 months and how tough this has been for everyone, yet we have had to ensure our teams can safely come to work everyday and care for patients. It can be easy to forget that outside of work people have also faced a lot of personal challenges, so to keep motivation and morale high has been tough.”

Richard Armitage

We love hearing about what inspires our partners… Can you describe in one sentence the key ethos of your organisation!

We are committed to providing the very best medical and vision correction outcomes across the UK and Europe! 

And in connection to your ethos, what do you think is the most important element of your organisation’s success?

Our people.

“Doctify helps build trust and confidence in our clinicians, in our service and in our outcomes.”

Richard Armitage

Let’s look at the bigger picture. We’ve spoken about what you do as an organisation, but what do you think CEOs or leaders in the healthcare industry should do to enhance our healthcare system? What values should guide us to evolve?

The last 18 months have put a huge amount of pressure and strain on an already challenged healthcare system and has shown the importance of the public and private sector working even closer together. We should as leaders seize this opportunity to remove the barriers, both practical and political, between the two sectors, and ensure that this great partnership can continue to flourish. I am incredibly proud to live in a country that has such an amazing public health system, but recognise that it is not possible for the NHS to continue to serve the population unless we rethink how and where and treatment is delivered. Moving care closer to home, into the community, is better for our patients, and allows our large NHS trusts hospitals to focus on delivering specialist services that they are experts at. I am also a big believer in preventative health and believe there is so much more we can do to stop people from becoming ill in the first place, through better education and access to exercise and nutrition. The pandemic has shone an even greater light on this.

Let’s move on to reviews, seeing that our partnership has now reached its second year…What are your thoughts on the growing role of online reviews for healthcare companies and practitioners?

It is an important step in ensuring we continue to have transparency, accountability and trust within healthcare. For too many years there has been a lot of smoke and mirrors around patients safety, outcomes and care, and this move towards a “compare the market” for healthcare will only help drive up standards for all.

Thank you very much for these thought-provoking answers, before we end our conversation… Which trends or issues do you think will shape the future of healthcare?

I think key topics and trends that we will come across very often will be telehealth companies and platforms, personalised medicine and Post-COVID public healthcare priorities on a global scale. 

Thank you for reading our conversation today with Richard Armitage, the NHS Director at Optegra Eye Hospital. To read more about our conversations with thought leaders, articles on the newest treatments and industry insights, visit our blog at https://www.doctify.com/uk/blog