Hospital closure left staff ‘high and dry’

STAFF and creditors of a failed €90 million private hospital in Cork expressed disappointment and anger over its closure that has left them “high and dry”.

About 70 people attended a creditors’ meeting held by KPMG liquidators who were appointed to the Cork Medical Centre (CMC) which closed in March, just five months after it opened.

The company, based in Mahon, had promised to employ close to 500 staff. In the end, it employed just over 70 but never had a patient stay overnight.

The meeting drew disgruntled nursing and administration staff, suppliers, healthcare companies and other former associates.

According to sources from within the meeting, the atmosphere was volatile and chief executive James Sheehan was grilled for over an hour about how the hospital went under.

Ex-employee Michelle Doyle, a consultant medical secretary from Cork, said she felt the whole thing had been handled badly and felt no third party was at fault.

But Sheehan Medical Ltd blamed its closure on VHI’s refusal to provide cover to its clients.

Ms Doyle said she found out, through a patient, the hospital was not going to be covered by the VHI.

Ms Doyle believes Mr Sheehan “fobbed off” questions put to him and said staff felt very let down.

James Carroll, who runs Investor First, represented four surgeons at the meeting. He said about 30 surgeons were owed money.

“Surgeons were encouraged to invest. One put in €50,000 and another €15,000, none of which has been repaid. Surgeons and medics are owed between €300,000-€400,000.”

According to sources, James Sheehan admitted the only letter he had in writing from VHI stated they would not cover the project.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Sheehan said the anger and hostility in the room was “pretty overwhelming” and “heavy”.

He disagreed with the sentiment from staff they had been treated badly.

“We gave them the correct statutory notice that we did not have the money, based on the fact that we did not get the money from the insurer and at that point we could not go on.”

According to Mr Sheehan, Siemens Financial, which supplied more than €8m worth of equipment, was not a creditor of CMC.

Top creditors

- Sheehan Medical — €3.5m.

- Revenue — €242,660.

- Clyda Heathcare — €217,920.

- Siemens Medical — €115,000.

- Meditech — €71,601.

- AON Insurance — €65,471.


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