Stakeholder engagement

Stakeholder engagement objectives

Life Healthcare uses a formalised stakeholder framework to engage with stakeholders, and the board is kept abreast of any material stakeholder matters through the board social, ethics and transformation committee. Our communication mix uses the most effective communication channels available, including social media and other digital means.

Our five core values and the following objectives inform the Group’s stakeholder engagement strategy:

  • Position Life Healthcare as a diversified leader in local and international healthcare
  • Manage the Group’s reputation
  • Build investor confidence in the Group
  • Position Life Healthcare as the preferred hospital group for doctors, patients, employees and partners

Our stakeholders and engagement methods

Life Healthcare employs a two-directional approach to stakeholder engagement. This approach ensures that engagements from us to our stakeholders (bottom-up) and from our stakeholders to ourselves (top-down) are considered in our stakeholder engagement and management.

Enabling  

Industry and regulatory bodies

  • Primary interactions through HASA in southern Africa, NHS in Alliance Medical, National Association of Private Hospitals, NFZ and Lewiatan Confederation in Poland
  • Engagement with regulatory bodies, such as the Care Quality Commission in the UK and Quality Monitoring Centre in Poland
  • Regulatory inputs, litigation and stakeholder engagement on general health policy matters
  • Interaction with professional associations such as Society of Radiographers in the UK

Shareholders, investors and financiers

  • Interaction with shareholders through interim and annual results, road shows, attending select investor conferences, ad hoc one-on-one meetings and engagements
  • Telephonic and web-based engagements, emails, interim and integrated reports, and Stock Exchange News Service (SENS) announcements
 

Government

  • Liaising with government health departments directly and through industry forums, for example HASA in South Africa
  • Ongoing interaction with government on regulatory direction
  • Participation in government forums
Input into value creation  

Doctors and consultants

  • Consultative forums and hospital-based medical advisory committees in various territories – this includes engagement with doctors in quality drives, cost of sales projects and development of clinical pathways
  • Quarterly online newsletters and training initiatives, including clinical support/supervision
  • Hospital managers facilitate open communication with doctors on a daily basis
  • Doctor and specialists surveys

Employees

  • Direct employee engagement through meetings, consultative forums, recognition and rewards programmes and engagement surveys
  • Employee-specific interim and annual results communications
  • Monthly employee tabloid and weekly online news updates
  • Comprehensive induction programmes
 

Suppliers

  • Reviewing and renewing contracts and procurement initiatives
  • Meetings and negotiations with strategic supply partners
  • Life Healthcare’s code of conduct and code of ethics are made available to all suppliers
Value creation output  

Patients

  • Patient feedback through paper-based comment cards, various measurement tools such as patient experience management (PXM) and post-discharge surveys – this includes emergency unit and rehabilitation patients. In Max Healthcare for example, patient satisfaction scores are obtained through a third party
  • Corporate monitoring of complaints and actions taken through the customer relationship management system in all of our territories
  • Customer services communication channel
  • Digital interaction through Life Healthcare’s contact us website feature and social media
  • Print media including Life magazine, published for patients

Government as a customer

  • Ongoing executive level interactions for key contracts in southern Africa
  • Direct interaction with public healthcare providers, for example NHS in the UK
  • Ongoing engagement relating to various contracts in Poland
 

Medical healthcare funders

  • Ongoing interaction and feedback regarding use, pricing, contracts, preferred network agreements, clinical and quality excellence, and patient satisfaction scores

Stakeholder expectations

Provision of professional, quality care and a positive hospital experience

The Group created a clinical governance, quality and safety board committee to oversee all matters related to quality care. These include Group-wide monitoring, correction, improvement and alignment. The clinical directorate coordinates patient care to maintain international standards of medical care, and guides doctors and clinical employees in matters related to clinical services. In South Africa, PXM and response through the CARE programme support the development and maintenance of a positive patient experience.

Access to multi-disciplinary health services and preferred network agreements

Life Healthcare has negotiated network and service agreements with medical healthcare funders in South Africa to provide care to patients in a manner that supports all stakeholders.

Execution of an appropriate strategy to steer Group performance

Life Healthcare has revised its strategy to ensure alignment to our five-year objectives. Management will apply and monitor this strategy through operational direction and performance against key performance indicators.

Provision of cost effective care in an efficient manner

The Group reviewed all South African procurement activities and, where possible, enhanced these to reduce the cost of sales component of cost effective care. Synergies with other territories are being investigated. Operational improvements, such as electricity cost saving, further aid this. We are further aligning with doctors, medical healthcare funders and, where relevant, government, to improve cost of care for patients.

Operating in a fair, respectful and ethical manner within appropriate corporate and clinical governance frameworks

The Group has a board social, ethics and transformation committee to ensure that the Group’s ethics are effectively managed. Details of ethical operation are encapsulated in our code of ethics. This is the starting point from which employees draw guidance for behaviour within the Group. The clinical governance, quality and safety board committee is responsible for ensuring appropriate actions for all clinical governance-related aspects of operation.

Employee value proposition, including competitive remuneration, reward and recognition, personal development, and health and safety

The Group regularly assesses market factors, and our overall strategy is to offer employees competitive market-related remuneration in addition to various benefits. A range of employee health and wellness programmes support our efforts, while the Life Achiever Awards in South Africa facilitate peer recognition. Training and development programmes are offered at all employee levels. Health and safety training is a business essential that is first applied during induction processes for new employees.

Transparent and timeous communication

The Group uses a stakeholder engagement strategy and various communication channels to ensure appropriate and timely interaction in a transparent manner.

Compliance with laws and regulations

Our Group Company Secretary and decentralised legal teams support the board in ensuring that all actions and approaches are within the confines of the laws and regulations of the territories in which we operate.

Assistance in addressing critical skills shortages in the industry

Life Healthcare operates the Life College of Learning, a registered higher education institution in South Africa, that provides training to meet the business’s needs. Engagement with government is ongoing to develop a partnered training model for doctors, nurses and other specialised skills.

Efficient interaction with case management, billing and payment and control of fraud

The digital e-billing project introduced a MultiTouch solution to our South African wards. This facilitates paperless, real-time functionality necessary for recording consumption of ward stock, equipment, gases and fees. Our case management process promotes efficiency through care coordination between the patient, hospital, medical healthcare funder and doctor. The Group has adopted stringent internal protocols and controls to manage healthcare fraud, this includes patient validation at admission, transparent reporting during case management, access control with segregation of duties, and imposed governance during the billing process.