Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My Bet? Mediclinic Wants Spire More Than Its Offer Says

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

My Bet? Mediclinic Wants Spire More Than Its Offer Says

Article excerpt

Byline: Jim Armitage City Editor COMMENTARY

AFTER inventing the gall bladder, Dr Samuel Gall made his fortune as "a specialist, specialising in diseases of the rich". If you believe the comic Tom Lehrer, that is.

Many a private healthcare company has attempted to follow the mythical Dr Gall and coin it by treating the desperate wealthy. Fewer have succeeded. The high costs of health insurance have meant 500,000 fewer Brits have cover now than in 2008.

Spire Healthcare had been mitigating this drop-off by selling its spare capacity to the NHS, but austerity means the state can't afford it so much these days. The cure for Spire has stopped working.

So, seeking to heal itself, Spire has gone back down the traditional route -- selling to the public on a fixed-price basis, pay-per-op. A hip job, madam? PS11,401.

The new model may work, but will take years before it makes up for the shortfall in NHS income.

Those fundamentals, and the one-off horror of having a "butcher" surgeon on the books in Ian Paterson, hammered the share price in September, making a lowball bid from Mediclinic all but inevitable. …

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