A trust is reviewing an agreement with private operator BMI Healthcare in a bid to retain more control if the company gets new owners.
Ashford and St Peter’s Foundation Trust threatened to serve notice on an operational agreement with BMI Healthcare under which the trust provides some services to the company’s Runnymede Hospital, which is physically linked to St Peter’s Hospital but is in a building leased to BMI.
In a financial management committee report to the board last month, director of finance and information Simon Marshall said it appeared BMI was “focused on the proposed sale of their business rather than the development of patient care… it is only right that the trust reviews its operations to ensure that it is adequately involved in shaping the future of the site”. It said serving notice would “get BMI around the table”.
The current agreement with the company consists of two parts – a long term lease over the property, which involves a profit share agreement and which the trust cannot terminate early, and the operational agreement, which can be terminated early.
Mr Marshall said: “We have a long standing partnership with BMI Healthcare over the provision of private patient services at the Runneymede Hospital, which we are seeking to review in the light of their recent financial performance and Netcare’s (BMI Healthcare’s majority owners) recent announcement to sell their stake in BMI Healthcare. At this stage, discussions of a commercially sensitive nature are underway and no decisions have been made. We will, of course, share more details about future plans for the site as soon as we are able to.”
A spokesman for Runnymede Hospital said: “We have been working collaboratively with Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Foundation Trust, including discussion of operational and financial matters.
“Since the trust’s finance committee meeting some two months ago, we have been in confidential discussions regarding the support service provided by Ashford and St Peter’s to the Runnymede Hospital. The Runnymede Hospital operates on a long lease on the NHS site and these discussions have no impact on the day to day hospital business.
“We will continue to invest as part of our long term plan for BMI Healthcare. Runnymede Hospital has been rated ‘good’ by the CQC and the trust has not raised any issues with us in regards to patient outcomes or experience. Our focus remains on delivering excellent healthcare, with 98.3 per cent of our patients saying that they would recommend us to their friends and family.”
He added that talks for the recapitalisation of BMI Healthcare were at an advanced stage, which would allow a capital expenditure programme and investment in the group’s estates.