• King’s College Hospital FT looking at commercial partnership with Saudi Arabia
  • Move at “very early stages”
  • Would follow other London specialist trusts working in the Middle East

A foundation trust is working on a commercial partnership with Saudi Arabia.

King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust in London is investigating whether to take up “healthcare opportunities” in the Middle Eastern country.

The move was mentioned in a report by PwC into financial mismanagement at the trust and was listed as one way it could bring in more income.

A trust spokesman said “discussions with Saudi Arabia are in very early stages and confidential”, so no further information could be provided.

King’s has an international reputation for some of its services, including renal transplant, and has a significant private and international private patient business.

The trust’s annual accounts for 2017-18 reveal the organisation had an income of £26.4m over the financial year from private work – £6m of it from overseas.

The size of the Saudi Arabia deal has not been disclosed but the PwC document indicated it could have contributed £200,000 to the organisation.

The PwC report was completed in February 2018, after the trust was placed in financial special measures, but only disclosed last month. It lists the scheme as “non-recurrent”, indicating it would not be an ongoing arrangement.

Other London specialist trusts, including Moorfields Eye Hospital FT and the Royal Brompton and Harefield FT, have had commercial dealings with Gulf states and run facilities in the region.

Other trusts, including the Royal Marsden FT and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children FT, treat significant numbers of international private patients, but have encountered problems in getting paid promptly for the work.

Last month, HSJ reported former University Hospitals Birmingham FT chief executive Dame Julie Moore had been to China to explore potential in the Beijing health system.

The PwC report into King’s also noted the trust must set aside £3.1m for international payments it had overcharged or whose debts it had to write off.