1954 to 1985
Born in Uganda
Moved to the UK
The Patel family moved from Uganda to India in 1965. After spending several years living in India, the family made their way to the UK in 1970.
In 1971, after years of attacks by the dictator Idi Amin, Ugandan Indians awoke to discover that they had 90 days to leave the country. It was during a family holiday in Uganda that the Patel family were caught up in the developing crisis and forced to leave Uganda for good.
Chai’s family moved into a council house in Putney, South London where they ran a local post office.
Graduated in medicine
Following his graduation in 1979 Chai went on to practise as a Doctor in General Medicine.
Practised Medicine in the National Health Service
Chai became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians in 1981 and practised in various medical specialties ultimately specialising in gastroenterology. In 1984, he was appointed as a Medical Research Fellow in Gastroenterology at Pembroke College, Oxford.
1988 to 1998
Worked in Investment Management with Merrill Lynch and Lehman Brothers
Moving on from practising medicine in 1985, Chai trained in investment management with Merrill Lynch in New York.
Following his move back to the UK, Chai was headhunted by Lehman Brothers as part of a team managing £200 million of discretionary and non-discretionary funds. In 1987 he was promoted to Vice President managing a team of traders. The lessons learned in this corporate environment would deepen Chai’s understanding of financial markets and business development.
Founded Court Cavendish
In 1988 Chai combined his unique blend of knowledge of investment markets with his medical experience to form Court Cavendish, a provider of long-term care. Court Cavendish became synonymous with quality and innovation. The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1993. It continued to grow through a series of acquisitions culminating in the merger with Takare to form Care First in 1996. Care First became a leading provider of care in the UK, with over 12,000 beds and 14,000 employees in 135 care homes.
Trustee of Health Unlimited
Deputy Chairman of the Continuing Care Conference
The Continuing Care Conference was an association of local authorities, providers, charities, service user groups and financial services companies dedicated to improving the quality of life of elderly people. Chai was its Deputy Chairman until 1999.
Joined the Independent Healthcare Association
As part of the Independent Healthcare Association team, Chai held the following roles:
Director: 1992 to 1995
Chairman: 1995 to 1997
Director of the Acute Board: 2003 onwards
Chai was also a member of the sub-group responsible for the development of ‘Home from Home’, an outcome-based standards guide for care homes. He also joined the National Advisory Committee for the Kings Fund Audit to oversee a two-year framework development for nursing home accreditation.
The Open University Foundation
Chai was a Trustee for the Open University Foundation from 1993 to 2000.
Member of the Advisory Board for the Demential Care Journal
Chai was a Member of the Advisory Board from 1995 to 2000.
The Millennium Debate of the Age
Chai was a Member of the Health and Care Study Group, which published one of the ‘Millenium Papers’ as part of the Millennium Debate of the Age which ran from 1996 to 1999. Established by Age Concern, England, the Millennium Debate of the Age was a prestigious, end-of-century examination of crucial issues surrounding the welfare of older people.
Better Regulation Task Force
From 1997 to 2002 Chai was appointed to the Government’s Better Regulation Task Force where he led several of its Reports including those on Long Term Care, Early Years Education and Red Tape Affecting Head Teachers.
He also contributed to the Minority Report of the Royal Commission on Long Term Care for the Elderly published in March 1999. This led to the separation of funding of nursing care from accommodation and other needs.
Governor of the National Institute of Social Work
Chai was a Governor of the National Institute of Social Work from July 1997 until the organisation’s closure in 2003.He was part of the working group which developed the basis for the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE).
Member of the Advisory Committee to the Governing Body of Pembroke College, Oxford
Care First acquired by Bupa
Department of Health - Advisory Group
From 1998 to 1999, Chai served as a Member of the Advisory Group chaired by Kina, Lady Averbury on Benchmark Standards for Residential and Nursing Home Care
Won the National Care Awards Care Personality of the Year
1999 to 2007
Buyout of Westminster Health Care
In 1999 Chai led the buyout of Westminster Health Care, one of the UK’s largest independent providers of healthcare services. The buyout was backed by Goldman Sachs and Welsh Carson. Chai was appointed Chief Executive Officer and successfully turned around and sold the Diagnostics business. He then acquired the Priory Hospitals, which were combined with Westminster’s mental health hospitals.
Awarded CBE by HM the Queen
In 1999’s Birthday Honours, Chai was recognised for his services to the development of social care policies and was made Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by HM the Queen.
Chairman of the Continuing Care Conference
Member of the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work
Member of the British Medical Association’s Committee on Community Care
Trustee at the Windsor Leadership
Chai served as a Trustee for Windsor Leadership – an organisation which delivers facilitated peer-to-peer learning for senior leaders from the public sector, private sector, third sector and the uniformed services. Windsor Leadership has been delivering leadership development for over 25 years. The foundations for Windsor Leadership were laid in 1981 when the ‘Windsor Meetings’ were set up with an aim to tackle the big issues in society.
Advisor and Trustee for the Institute of Public Policy Research
Chai served as a Trustee and Advisor to the Institute of Public Policy Research. Founded in 1988 the IPPR is a centre-left think tank based in London with offices in Newcastle, Manchester and Edinburgh. It continues to be a highly influential thought leader in the UK.
Appointed to the NHS Modernisation Team
Chai was appointed to a working group to formulate a National Plan for the NHS and served between April and August 2000
Trustee - Help the Aged
Using his knowledge and experience of the health and social care sector, Chai served as a Trustee for the UK’s leading charity for older people, Help the Aged.
Appointed as a Member of the Older People's Task Force
Companion of the Chartered Management Institute (formerly the Institute of Management)
Buyout of the Priory Group
In 2002, Chai led the buyout of the aforementioned world-famous Priory Group, a specialist mental health and education service provider, with the backing of Doughty Hanson. From 2002 to 2007 he served as Chief Executive Officer and indeed, Chai was the architect of the modern Priory Group – leading a company of 6,000 healthcare staff, consultants, teachers, therapists and nurses with the added pressure of considerable media attention (given the high-profile nature of the Priory’s VIP client base). During his five years at the Priory Group, Chai expanded the range of services provided and oversaw improved services and a significant increase in the company’s reputation and value.
Received an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University
PRIAE (Policy Research Institute on Ageing and Ethnicity)
Chai has been with PRIAE since 2004 and as Patron has brought to bear his knowledge and expertise of healthcare policy issues.
Senior Associate of the Kings Fund
Chai’s knowledge of the health and social care sector was attractive for the Kings Fund when he acted as a Senior Associate for this leading healthcare think tank. Chai was a member of an independent working group examining the changing landscape of NHS funded services – contributing to an important report published in 2006.
Court Cavendish reborn as a Healthcare Turnaround Specialist Company
Chai left the Priory Group in 2007 at which point he bought back the Court Cavendish name from Bupa. In 2008, the re-established Court Cavendish acquired Care Management Group (CMG), a provider of services to people with learning disabilities which was struggling to provide even the minimum standards of care and was on the brink of collapse. Chai became Deputy Chairman and through his strong leadership, with the support of his newly developed turnaround team, transformed the company’s delivery and financial performance. This culminated in CMG being recognised as a high quality, multi-award winning company, ultimately acquired by AMP in 2018, in one of UK healthcare’s most successful turnarounds to date.
2008 to 2019
Founded Bright Future Trust
In 2008 Chai and his family founded the Bright Future Trust, a charitable organisation which has to date “invested for impact” over £2 million in charitable causes focussing on delivering a brighter future for children and young people facing adversity. Although based in the UK, investment has been across the world in both start up and established charitable organisations. In addition, Chai and his family have donated a further £2.5 million to charitable causes.
Co-founded Elysian Capital
In 2008 Chai co-founded Elysian Capital, a mid-market private equity firm specialising in investments between £10m and £100m in a broad range of industries in the UK. Investors include pension funds, insurance companies as well as family offices. Returns to date have been above expectations.
Early in 2011 Chai Patel took the biggest gamble in his long and successful career as a doctor, an investment banker/entrepreneur and, latterly, as a philanthropist. He agreed to lead a recovery management team for the rump of the bankrupt Southern Cross care home group consisting of 250 homes, 15,000 staff and 11,000 elderly residents. Within 6 months the new business had been re-launched as HC-One, the UK’s third largest care provider, under a new management team with Chai at its helm.
From the beginning of HC-One the focus of the business has been on kindness, given Chai’s aim was to deliver the “kindest care in the UK”. By investing in the training and professional development of his colleagues, Chai and the leadership team helped build a brand which truly has kindness at its heart.
Until his retirement in October 2019 Chai served as Chairman of HC-One, as well as four years as Chief Executive. Under his leadership a care home group in crisis grew into the largest care home provider in the UK and a vibrant and successful business employing over 23,000 people in over 329 care homes. Chai retains a significant stake in the business.
Chairman of BBC Media Action Catalyst Fund
Chai has been a supporter of the BBC Media Action Catalyst Fund and has both funded it and acted as its Chairman. The BMACF is an organisation launched in 2011 seeking to provide small proportions of matched funding needed to secure larger grants. BBC Media Action reaches more than 100 million people across the world each year. Chai continues to remain an active supporter of BBC Media Action whose primary goal is to use the power of media and communication to help reduce poverty and support people in understanding their rights.
Took part in Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire
In 2011 Chai was invited by Channel 4 to take part in the critically acclaimed and award-winning programme ‘Secret Millionaire’. During the show Chai was filmed living in a deprived area of Sheffield. Witnessing the real impact of deprivation Chai donated to the three charities in the city which were featured in the programme. Chai found this experience as one of the most “rewarding and inspirational” times of his life.
'Social Entrepreneur of the Year ' Asian Business Awards 2012
Federation of Patidar Associations' Award 2012 (Gujariti, Hindu, Patel Community organisation)
Carried the Olympic Torch as part of the London 2012 Olympic Games
Won National Care Awards Care Personality of the Year for a second time
Chai also won Health Investor’s highly prestigious Outstanding Contribution Award in 2012, as well as heading up the prestigious Power 50 Awards in 2014.
Received an Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University
In 2013 Sheffield Hallam University awarded Chai an Honorary Doctorate for his Services to Healthcare and to the Community.
Vice President of Combat Stress
Chai has been a long-standing supporter of the 100-year old veteran charity Combat Stress. In 2015 after chairing The Enemy Within Appeal which raised over £30 million for British veterans, Chai was appointed Vice President of the charity. Since being founded in 1919 Combat Stress has supported the mental health of more than 100,000 veterans. The fundraising campaign chaired by Chai is one of the most successful ever held by a veterans’ mental health charity.
Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Knight Frank Healthcare & Senior Living Dinner
Chai was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Knight Frank Healthcare & Senior Living Dinner 2019 in recognition of his significant contributions to the health and social care sector over more than 40 years.
From Management to Investment
With a 35-year career in healthcare, Dr Chai Patel is an industry expert. Ranging from practising medicine, investment, business development, healthcare management and philanthropy Chai’s knowledge and experience are second to none.
Chai has been recognised by HM the Queen, his industry, leading universities and others for his contribution to the delivery of care and philanthropy through the years.
In October 2019 Chai retired as Chairman of HC-One, where he remains on the Investment Board. He continues to be Chairman of Elysian Capital, Court Cavendish, Royal Madikwe and Red Rickshaw and is on the Board of Elevation Healthcare Partners.
He is Chairman of the HC-One Foundation and The Bright Future Trust. As he has done for years, he informally advises other charities on a pro-bono basis. In recent years, Chai has made further investments in tech- start-ups in healthcare, hospitality, environmental and e-commerce.