Opportunity for consultants under proposed hospitals take-over

By Robin Stride

Consultants face an ‘exciting opportunity’ under plans for Spire hospitals to be bought by Ramsay Health in a £2.064bn deal.

Craig McNally

Craig McNally, chief executive of the would-be buyers, claimed it would enable closer working with consultant partners and clinicians ‘to ensure further investment in clinical excellence in all our specialties’.

‘The transaction will also create the platform to address the growing patient demand for more convenient healthcare through increased investment in digital innovation and transformation. 

‘We believe that the combined group will provide an exciting opportunity for Spire employees and consultant partners and look forward to welcoming them to Ramsay in due course.’

Spire chief executive Justin Ash said the deal, if allowed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), would increase choice to private and NHS patients and offer a platform where consultant partners could deliver ‘a positive difference to patients’.

The CMA may require a sale of some hospitals and/or clinics and is thought likely to require the two businesses to be held separately until its review is complete.

Together the two groups would have the largest number of outlets in the £5.8m UK private hospital market. 

Ramsay UK works with over 3,000 consultants, runs 37 facilities, including three neurological rehabilitation centres and a mobile diagnostic scanning fleet, and is a leading independent provider to the NHS and a leader for electronic referrals from GPs.

Spire works with around 7,500 consultants and has 39 hospitals and eight clinics across England, Wales and Scotland. 

Ramsay and Spire claim they would ‘lead the way on patient outcomes through bolstered partnerships with private health insurers, the NHS, consultant partners and associated clinical networks’. 

Mr McNally said: ‘Ramsay will work closely with the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure all shared objectives are closely aligned and we stand ready to support the NHS in tackling the significant increase in waiting lists and the return of elective procedures in the UK.’