Further to its announcement published on Wednesday 18 March, Spire Healthcare (LSE: SPI), a leading UK independent hospital group, can confirm it has signed Heads of Terms with NHS England to make its facilities and services available to the NHS and its patients during the COVID-19 outbreak.
As part of the agreement, and in line with the entire independent hospital sector, Spire Healthcare will assist NHS England from Monday 23 March, for a minimum period of 14 weeks, and then on a rolling basis terminable by NHS England on one month’s notice.
Spire Healthcare will use the first week to prepare its colleagues and facilities for full use by the NHS, while it continues to treat NHS and private elective patients where appropriate. From 30 March Spire Healthcare will make available the entire capacity of its 35 hospitals in England to the NHS.
Spire Healthcare will receive cost recovery for its services, including operating costs, overheads, use of assets, rent and interest less a deduction for any private elective care provided.
Payments to Spire Healthcare will be made weekly in advance. An independent accounting firm will be appointed to manage and assure costs and payments and to ensure information for each provider is kept separate and confidential.
Primary care is excluded from the agreement. Spire Healthcare’s private GP service will continue as normal. We will be extending video consultation as part of this service for the ease and protection of our patients.
Spire Healthcare has also taken the clinical decision to suspend certain procedures from 5:00am on Friday 20 March. This includes all non-urgent elective surgery for patients over the age of 70 and vulnerable patients with co-morbidities. This decision follows the latest government advice and is designed to protect vulnerable patients whilst also creating additional capacity to support the NHS.
The agreement with NHS England will provide Spire Healthcare with sufficient liquidity and financial stability during the COVID-19 outbreak to continue to provide outstanding personalised care to its patients. Given the lack of visibility on the length of contract, and on the potential volume of elective surgery we will receive afterwards, we are unable to determine the full financial impact at this stage. The Spire Healthcare Board therefore believes it is prudent to withdraw the guidance for FY20 given on 5 March 2020. The agreement allows for sufficient notice to prepare for the resumption of private and NHS elective care in the normal manner once the COVID-19 peak has passed. Spire Healthcare should then be in a strong position to meet the demand arising from the period of elective suspension.
We are committed to supporting NHS England in combatting the COVID-19 outbreak and will update the market when further information is available.
This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014.