Private hospital provider Spire Healthcare reported a pre-tax loss of £231.3 million for the first six months of 2020 compared with a £9.6 million profit a year earlier as revenue fell 18% to £401.9 million.

Announcing its interim results, the hospital group said that the Covid-19 outbreak had effectively ended its principle revenue source of elective surgery, but that a block-booking deal with the NHS England had allowed to business to continue.

Spire in now gradually returning to private patient activity while retaining some NHS beds to deal with a growing backlog of patients.

in a statement the company said: “The group will remain within the NHSE contract for most of 2020 and if current trends continue, the board expects operating profit in H2 2020 to be at least in-line with H1 2020. December 2020 net bank debt is expected to be in the range of £320 million to £360 million. There has been a return of private activity since lockdown and there is significant national unmet demand for both private and NHS procedures. Subject to any significant change in the Covid environment, the board anticipates trading returning to 2019 levels in 2021.”

Chief executive Justin Ash said the combination of meeting demand from private patients while retaining some NHS beds bodes well for future commercial prospects.

Ash said: “The first six months of 2020 has witnessed unprecedented challenges but Spire Healthcare has been able to play a critical role during this time of national public health crisis whilst continuing to invest in its future. We are now well-positioned to continue supporting the NHS in urgently tackling growing waiting lists, while meeting the increasing demand for treatment from private patients.

“Challenges remain, but I am optimistic about our future prospects with our admissions now close to the levels of last year. On the back of rising private demand and increased efficiency in our patient pathways, I firmly believe Spire Healthcare can look forward to the future with confidence in its mission to bring together the best people, dedicated to delivering the highest-quality patient care in the best clinical environment.”

Date published: September 17, 2020

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