Private healthcare firm Care UK has boosted its position as an NHS care provider by buying rival Mercury Health for £77m.

Mercury Health, a division of support services company Tribal Group, runs five independent sector treatment centres across the South of England and a GP practice for City and Hackney primary care trust, and has a contract with the Department of Health for diagnostic services across the West Midlands.

Care UK currently runs four ISTCs and has been appointed preferred bidder for another centre in Hampshire and the Manchester clinical assessment, treatment and support project.

The company is also preferred bidder in partnership with Alliance Medical to provide diagnostics services for the North East.