Yorkshire plastic surgery clinic visited by celebrity clients invests over £1m in refurbishment

From the white marble floors to the soft velvet chairs, the exquisite light fittings and accessories, entering Coppergate Clinic feels more like walking into a beautifully-refurbished home than a hospital.

The muted green and grey painted tones create a relaxing atmosphere and everything feels new and fresh. And so it should - the clinic finally finished its latest refurbishment project, which cost over £1m, just two weeks ago.

“We’ve invested our lives in this. It’s been hard because we’ve still been working while it’s been going on but it’s worth it,” says clinic director Orla Rhodes. “ We’re a high-end clinic. I didn’t want vinyl flooring, I wanted marble.”

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Coppergate Clinic was founded by clinic director Mrs Rhodes and her husband, consultant plastic surgeon Nick Rhodes, eight years ago when they decided to buy a beauty salon in York city centre.

Nick and Orla Rhodes, founders of Coppergate Clinic in York, which has undergone a major refurbishment.Nick and Orla Rhodes, founders of Coppergate Clinic in York, which has undergone a major refurbishment.
Nick and Orla Rhodes, founders of Coppergate Clinic in York, which has undergone a major refurbishment.

The business, which is based in former Yorkshire Tyne Tees Television premises on Coppergate, registered with the Care Quality Commission and added a local anaesthetic theatre for Mr Rhodes to carry out small procedures including lip lifts and breast implant removals, alongside the salon’s traditional beauty treatments.

However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the couple decided to rethink the business model, invested in a general anaesthetic theatre, and turned the business into a more lucrative cosmetic surgery clinic, which now has 10 plastic surgeons.

The clinic is also one of the North’s two training centres for the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

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However, it’s not about recreating Instagram filters or perfecting the Barbie look. “People assume that because you’re a plastic surgeon, all you do is make ‘perfect’ people,” says Mrs Rhodes.

"I’d say that’s less than one per cent of what we do here. A lot of our work is post-childbirth reconstructive surgery, post weight loss surgery, breast reductions, that kind of thing. We do the procedures that used to be done on the NHS before cutbacks.”

The clinic, which employs 35 people in total, does its fair share of face and neck lifts too but these procedures, Mrs Rhodes says, are designed to enhance a person’s natural features rather than change them.

In fact, Mr Rhodes and his team actively turn away work if it doesn’t align with their values.

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"Getting people to appreciate their natural beauty is a very important part of my job because people focus on tiny little imperfections,” says Mr Rhodes. “They shouldn’t be comparing themselves with edited images they see on Instagram.”

“It takes twice as long to talk people out of a procedure rather than just putting them on the list and I’d say I’m having those conversations a lot more frequently. We’re getting people that are coming a little bit earlier with very minor concerns.”

The clinic, which has a £4.3m turnover, attracts clients from all over the country, many from London, including celebrities, and even one from New York.

"People come to us because we have some of the best surgeons in the country, but we’re not charging Harley Street prices,” says Mrs Rhodes.

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Looking ahead, the couple have a five-year plan to expand the business with another operating theatre and reach £10m turnover.

"I’m very proud of our turnover in such a short space of time ,” says Mrs Rhodes.