Norwich Spire hospital set to be taken over

The Spire Hospital Norwich at Colney.

The Spire Hospital Norwich at Colney. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Norwich's private hospital may come under new ownership following a bid of nearly £1bn to buy the Spire Healthcare Group.

Ramsay Health Care, which provides care across Australia, Europe, Asia and 37 health facilities in the UK, has reached an agreement with the company- subject to a shareholder vote.

Spire has 39 hospitals, including Norwich Spire, and eight clinics across England, Wales and Scotland, and saw 750,000 patients in 2020.

Spire Norwich treated more than 20,000 patients during the pandemic and opened a new £1.4m theatre to increase theatre capacity. 

In documents around the acquisition, the Ramsay board said the take over would be "transformational" for its UK presence and increase ability to address growing patient demand for "more convenient healthcare". 

Craig McNally, CEO and managing director of Ramsay, said: "Ramsay will work closely with the Department of Health & Social Care to ensure all shared objectives are closely aligned and we stand ready to support the NHS in tackling the significant increase in waiting lists and the return of elective procedures in the UK.

"Spire's track record of serving self-pay and insured patients will increase patient choice at Ramsay. It will enhance our capacity to work closely with our consultant partners and clinicians to ensure further investment in clinical excellence in all our specialties through the provision of multi-disciplinary care to better service both self-pay and insured patients."

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The company will also have to assure the Competitions & Markets Authority that its position would not be too strong before proceeding with the deal.

Spire directors are intended to recommend unanimously that shareholders vote in favour of the scheme. 

Justin Ash, CEO of Spire, said: "I am immensely proud of the Spire business and the tremendous efforts of colleagues across the group who are passionate about providing outstanding personalised care and delivering a positive difference to patients' lives.

"The highly complementary combination of Spire and Ramsay presents a unique opportunity to accelerate this progress, will increase choice to private and NHS patients across the UK and will offer a platform where our colleagues, consultant partners, businesses, and broader stakeholder group, including the NHS, can continue to deliver a positive difference to patients."