A private hospital in Kent will claim to offer NHS and private patients “the only” cardiothoracic and neurosurgery tertiary care beds in the county, helping to reduce referrals to London trusts.
The Clydesdale Bank last week agreed a £34m loan deal to help build and run the Kent Institute of Medicine and Surgery, which is due to open in the second quarter of 2014.
Additional funding for the £80m development will be provided by corporate and private investors, including around 100 clinicians.
The private hospital will be built at the intersection of three primary care trusts – Medway, West Kent, and Eastern and Coastal Kent – and has agreed to make up to a quarter of its capacity available for NHS patients.
The bank said in a statement that there were no tertiary care beds for private or NHS patients in Kent, and that commissioners spend around £250m a year sending patients to be treated at central London hospitals such as Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust.
Once open, the hospital would provide “the only cardiothoracic and neurosurgery tertiary care beds in Kent”, it added.
Institute chair Steven Bernstein told HSJ that the group had been in talks with Kent PCTs, GP commissioners, and some London NHS hospitals, “all of whom see the benefits of allowing patients to remain in the locality rather than transfer to London”.
Treating patients in London meant Kent commissioners had to pay higher ambulance costs, and the higher “market forces factor” weighting applied to NHS prices in the capital.
However, he added that the institute was “first and foremost a private hospital” and there could be capacity constraints on the amount of NHS patients it treated. The hospital will have just 74 inpatient beds and five main theatres, according to the Clydesdale statement.
He said around 250 clinicians involved in the project had agreed to transfer a proportion of their private practice – principally for Kent based patients currently treated in London – to the hospital.
He anticipated this income alone would make the hospital profitable from its first year of operation.