Higher staff costs contributed to a drop in profits at the country’s largest privately-owned hospital group last year.
New figures lodged by the Cork-based Bon Secours Health Systems BSHS Ltd show profits fell over 60% to almost €2.1m even as revenues rose 8% to €263m.
The company employs 3,000 staff, including 450 medical consultants, in privately-run hospitals in Cork, Dublin, Galway, and Tralee and provides care to 280,000 patients annually.
The directors said the profits were earned “in a competitive and challenging environment”.
“The decrease in profit for the year is attributable in the main to higher payroll costs associated with service expansion and the progressive restoration of pay in line with National Pay agreements,” according to the accounts.
Increased finance costs added to the write off of goodwill from the acquisition in February 2017 of Limerick private hospital Barringtons which was bought for €14.6m.
Some €5.18m in good will arose from the acquisition.
The directors said that overall in-patient bed-nights and day-case volumes fell from 201,145 to 200,653.
A 3% increase in day-case volumes was offset by slightly lower in-patient volumes, reflecting a lower volume of patient referrals from the National Treatment Purchase Fund.
This occurred “despite our ever-present willingness to assist the HSE and public patients in this initiative”, the directors said.
The directors also welcomed increased numbers of people holding private insurance but said: “Of concern, however, is the progressive downgrading of policy cover by the private health insurers who at the same time continue to challenge BSHS and other health care providers to expand and enhance services and to also reduce costs”.