Inside the private London Clinic at the centre of Kate Middleton records ‘breach’

The hospital has about 23,000 inpatients a year, with a further 110,000 outpatients

Holly Evans
Thursday 21 March 2024 04:45 GMT
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Ed Davey calls for investigation into claims staff tried to access Princess Kate's medical records

A top private hospital with a reputation for treating royalty, politicians and celebrities has found itself caught up in the Kate Middleton media storm.

It has been claimed that staff at the London Clinic tried to access the Princess of Wales’s medical records after she underwent abdominal surgery in January.

Kate, 42, spent two weeks in the hospital before returning home to continue her recovery at the family in Windsor, while King Charles also used the hospital to undergo treatment for an enlarged prostate.

With such a high-profile roster of patients, discretion will be a top priority for the clinic, with staff said to be “distraught” that an employee allegedly committed such a significant breach of trust.

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King Charles III and Queen Camilla are seen leaving The London Clinic on January 29, 2024
King Charles III and Queen Camilla are seen leaving The London Clinic on January 29, 2024 (Getty Images)

Following the allegations about the medical records in The Mirror on Tuesday, the UK privacy and data protection watchdog said it had received a breach report.

An Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) spokesperson said on Tuesday: “We can confirm that we have received a breach report and are assessing the information provided.”

What is the London Clinic?

Officially opened in 1932 by the future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Marylebone-based hospital has long held close associations with the monarchy.

Since the 1980s, a number of facilities have been opened by members of the royal family, including the physiotherapy department by King Charles in 1989 and the late Queen unveiling a cancer unit in 2010.

The brainchild of a group of Harley Street doctors, the hospital’s website says it was “founded on the principles of providing excellence in one place.” Harley Street itself is just round the corner from the hospital, which is also close to Regent’s Park.

The Prince of Wales drives away from the London Clinic, in central London, where the Princess of Wales was recovering
The Prince of Wales drives away from the London Clinic, in central London, where the Princess of Wales was recovering (PA)

Around 155 different conditions are treated at the hospital, which contains seven main operating theatres as well as six speciality wards for surgeries in urology, gynaecology, thoracic surgery, orthopaedics and spinal procedures.

According to the health watchdog, the hospital has about 23,000 inpatients a year, with a further 110,000 outpatients, with several senior royals admitted there over the years.

What kind of treatments are available?

Specialising in breast, urology, gynaecology and dermatology health issues, patients at 20 Devonshire Place can expect all-inclusive packages for their various treatments, along with tailored medical plans.

On their website, adult circumcision is priced from £2,070, snoring surgery ranges from £3,060 upwards and a knee replacement will set patients back by around £16,900.

Staff at The London Clinic have been accused to trying to access the Princess of Wales’ private medical records (PA)
Staff at The London Clinic have been accused to trying to access the Princess of Wales’ private medical records (PA) (PA Wire)

Body sculpting, breast reduction surgery and uplifts as well as gastric balloons are all available, with prices available upon enquiry and assessment.

During first appointments, a personalised treatment plan is crafted with dedicated aftercare, specialist physiotherapy sessions and dietary support.

A world away from the NHS , the London Clinic has more in common with a hotel than the average hospital ward. Each room boasts air conditioning, an en-suite bathroom with complimentary Molton Brown products and a large HDTV, with a concierge service also available.

Locally sourced ingredients from Smithfield Market and the Cornish coast are used for mealtimes, with the catering team taking into consideration each patient’s dietary needs. Patients can order food from their bed much like room service, with a wide range of options available including starters, main courses and desserts.

Police officers stand guard outside The London Clinic where Kate Princess of Wales was recovering from surgery
Police officers stand guard outside The London Clinic where Kate Princess of Wales was recovering from surgery (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Who has stayed at The London Clinic?

Past patients include the late Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip, the late Queen’s younger sister Princess Margaret and former US president John F Kennedy.

Actress Elizabeth Taylor was also treated at the clinic after falling on a film set in the 1960s.

Political figures such as Clement Attlee and Sir Anthony Eden have also received treatment at the hospital, while Cecil Parkinson passed away there while being treated for colon cancer in 2016.

David Cameron was also born there in 1966, while Augusto Pinochet, the former dictator of Chile, was arrested there in 1998 for crimes against humanity.

Kate underwent surgery at the clinic in January
Kate underwent surgery at the clinic in January (AP)

What has happened with Kate’s records?

The princess was admitted to The London Clinic on 16 January, with few details known about her condition. Kensington Palace previously said it was not cancer-related and that Kate wished for her personal medical information to remain private.

Police have now “been asked to look at” whether staff attempted to access the Princess of Wales’s private medical records, a health minister said on Wednesday.

Maria Caulfield said there could be “hefty implications” for accessing the notes without permission, including prosecution or fines.

An insider told The Mirror that the alleged breach was “incredibly damaging” for the hospital, and senior bosses contacted royal aides immediately to assure them that there would be a full investigation.

What has the Clinic said?

On Wednesday, the chief executive said “all appropriate investigatory, regulatory and disciplinary steps will be taken” when looking at alleged data breaches.

Al Russell said in a statement: “Everyone at the London Clinic is acutely aware of our individual, professional, ethical and legal duties with regards to patient confidentiality.

“We take enormous pride in the outstanding care and discretion we aim to deliver for all our patients that put their trust in us every day.

“We have systems in place to monitor management of patient information and, in the case of any breach, all appropriate investigatory, regulatory and disciplinary steps will be taken.

“There is no place at our hospital for those who intentionally breach the trust of any of our patients or colleagues.”

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