European Union of Private Hospitals

SantéCité, a French cooperative group

By Stéphan de BUTLER d’ORMOND, President of SantéCité


What characterises an independent private hospital?

First of all, an independent private healthcare institution faces the same challenges as other hospitals such as economic return, adaptation, innovation and competitiveness but with one distinctive characteristic, the sustainability of its development. An independent private hospital manager has a long term view and an economic model based on investments. Our cooperative establishments want to be in business for the long term.

In our model, the manager is one with the institution. Some have founded their hospital, all represent it with energy and share the risks with their practitioners and employees. We are, each of us, rooted in our territory, each manager is responsible for its employees. We all have one vocation, to provide care, and we are fully engaged with the institution because we rely less on external factors. We cultivate the culture of a « Company with a Mission».

In France, the number of independent private hospitals is decreasing. How do you see the future of your model?

We would like to make it a model for the future. SantéCité is a cooperative group with its own values. Many important private hospital groups can be proud of what they have achieved. We do not act in opposition towards these models but rather out of preference. Our model is based on responsible managers who embody their values and who operate closely with their teams and who create, for their physicians, excellent working conditions while first and foremost respecting their independent status.

We would like to develop SantéCité as a brand image and position it on the market so that it becomes a more institutional brand and a label recognized by healthcare professionals and patients. Also, SantéCité identifies with societal challenges such as corporate social responsibility (CSR).

How does the Cooperative Group SantéCité operate?

Our particularity is that we are at a crossroads between the business model, a private limited company for example, and a cooperative business approach. We wanted to further professionalize our organization, which was built by many entrepreneurial initiatives and aspirations. All our co-operators show an inclination for the pooling of actions, the “benchmarking” of the best organizations, so that our cooperators can accelerate their growth. We are doing joint action on purchasing, research and wish to develop many other new projects. The cooperative spirit is the pooling of actions and its collective energy, while maintaining one´s managerial responsibility and operational autonomy.

SantéCité has developed a simple and light structure to better serve its cooperators who are engaged at a personal level and with their employees in the collective actions of the Group. The first strand of my program is the improvement of the performance of the cooperators. This involves consolidating the purchasing subsidiary with Pierre MALTERRE, its President. The second strand aims to accelerate the sharing of best practices via benchmarking in particular. Innovation is our third key action: digitalisation, Article 51, for example, are at the center of our concerns. We have acquired a HiLab and work on the HOP´EN project. SantéCité cooperators can also work together on research projects within our CGS SCERI, chaired by Thierry ROYER, a structure which has allowed those who are engaged together in clinical trials and publications to pool their actions.

The fourth strand concerns capital. We want to give the ability to a cooperator to run his organization in line with its independent status. Beyond that, we could be able to develop a capitalistic vehicle. SantéCité is not intended to become a capitalistic group but it could become a transition vehicle, a vehicle for carrying and transmitting knowledge.

SantéCité in numbers:

133 cooperating establishments, € 2.6 billion of cumulative budgets (2017). Our structure is light with 2 employees at headquarters for overall coordination, 2 to 4 people in charge of purchasing and 2 in charge of research.


*Stéphan de BUTLER d’ORMOND, is the CEO of the private hospital group Groupe Santé Victor Pauchet in Amiens. He was elected on 7 December 2018 President of SantéCité, the first French cooperative group of independent private hospitals.