Clinic profits rise 72% to over €6m

BLACKROCK Clinic, one of the country’s largest private hospitals, saw a healthy increase in profits last year, according to its latest accounts.

Pre-tax profits at the hospital shot up 72% to just over €6 million for the year to end December 2003. Turnover for the year increased by €7.5m to €54.2m.

The company said it had benefited from long hospital waiting lists as more people went private for medical procedures.

“A series of short-term contracts undertaken to reduce waiting lists within the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland positively influenced the company’s income during 2003,” Blackrock’s directors said in the accounts.

It did not break down how much it received from the Department of Health and the regional health authorities for these contracts.

The company’s shareholders, who include founders Jim and Joe Sheehan and the British health insurers BUPA, were paid €3.1m in dividends, more than double the previous year’s payout.

BUPA acquired a majority stake in the Blackrock some years ago and the remaining shares are held by the other directors and several of the hospital’s consultant doctors.

The number of people employed at the company rose to 516, an increase of 38 on the 2002 figure.

This consisted of 377 medical personnel, 101 administrators and managers and 38 in supplies.

The wages bill for the year came to €16.1m, giving an average salary of €31,000.

The company also paid out nearly €2m to temporary contract and medical staff to cope with the extra workload.

The company’s directors, who include CRH chairman Pat Molloy, were paid just €50,697, down from €114,881 the previous year.

Blackrock Clinic, which first opened 20 years ago, is regarded as one of the finest private medical centres in Europe. Though it has just 81 private beds, it has pioneered many major treatments in Ireland.

The private hospital sector is very profitable in Ireland with more than €23m earned by just three groups in 2003.

Earlier this year, the Irish Examiner reported that Dublin’s Mater Private Hospital made a profit of €7.8m, while Bon Secours, which has five facilities across the country, saw its profits rise by 350% in 2003 to €9.2m.

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