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Debt ridden hospital loses major contract

PUBLISHED: 13:28 09 July 2009 | UPDATED: 11:14 12 August 2010

A HOSPITAL trust £147.2 million in debt is set to lose more money after a private health company pulled out of a contract to use its facilities. Ramsay Healthcare, which runs 30 private hospitals, put an end to its deal with the South London Healthcare

A HOSPITAL trust £147.2 million in debt is set to lose more money after a private health company pulled out of a contract to use its facilities.

Ramsay Healthcare, which runs 30 private hospitals, put an end to its deal with the South London Healthcare NHS Trust (SLHT) to use a 25-bed facility at the Princess Royal Hospital, Farnborough (PRUH).

The company opened Bromley Private Patient Unit in September 2007 but it was closed at the end of June claiming it was no longer commercially viable.

On Tuesday, Chris Streather, chief executive of SLTH, told a Bromley Local Involvement Network annual meeting that there was no clause in the contract to prevent Ramsay Healthcare from pulling out whenever it wanted to.

He also revealed the company paid the hospital 10 years rent upfront, meaning the trust will now have to pay back eight years' rent.

Ramsay Healthcare bosses refused to tell the Times the financial details of the contract claiming it was "commercial in confidence".

A spokesperson for Ramsay Healthcare said: "The contract was not proving to be commercially viable. It is very rare for Ramsay to divest a facility, and this decision was taken, by mutual agreement, after many months of careful analysis and consideration. SLHT is currently considering proposals of how best to use the facility in the future, and Ramsay is grateful to the trust for enabling nursing staff to join the bank if they have not found alternative employment."

The facility at the side of the PRUH had 25 en-suite rooms where Ramsay Healthcare provided medical and acute services to adults.

Bosses at the hospital are expected to make a decision on the future of the unit at the end of the month.

Retired police officer David Mott, 63, from Orpington, said: "It must be because they were not making enough money.

"I see no other reason why they would pull out. As to what the other implications are to ending their contract, I don't know.

"The hospital took it on in the hope they were going to get some money from it."

SLHT would not comment on the contract.

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