Bupa hurt by rising cost of UK healthcare

Michael Bow
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HEALTHCARE provider Bupa yesterday said a lack of competition among UK private hospitals had contributed to a 22 per cent fall in profits in its European and US businesses.

Posting a £35m profit for its UK, Spanish and US operations, down from £45m last year, Bupa said this lack of competition was pushing up the cost of treatment and threatening to make its health insurance unaffordable, forcing customers away.

The firm’s UK customer numbers fell five per cent to 2.7m in the first six months, it reported.

Chief executive Stuart Fletcher, who took over in March, said: “There are some consultants charging a good deal more than others, but who display no better quality of health outcomes for the customer.”

There was good news away from the West – where 63 per cent of Bupa’s turnover is generated – with international profits up ten per cent. Globally, underlying pre-tax profit was up five per cent.