Thursday 9 September 2021 7:54 am

Spire Healthcare returns to operating profit amid climbing Covid costs

Independent hospital group Spire Healthcare has returned to an operating profit in the past six months, after being hit by climbing Covid-19 costs.

The group swung from a £189.8m operating loss last year, managing to secure £46.2m in the six months to 30 June, according to its interim results this morning.

Revenue also jumped 38.9 per cent from £401.9m to £558.2m, marking positive growth even on pre-pandemic levels.

“I am pleased by our performance in the first six months of the year, which has seen us return to operating profit despite ongoing Covid costs, due to the exceptional growth in private revenues,” CEO Justin Ash said.

“We have been successful in building the Spire Healthcare brand and responding to the resulting unprecedented demand from private patients. As waiting lists continue to climb, the company is helping patients find options for treatment, be that privately or by assisting the NHS.”

Ash explained that the “complexities” of delivery care in a Covid-secure environment has also pushed up costs, “which will continue as long as Covid case numbers remain high in the UK”.

The group has pumped £26.5m worth of investment into its facilities and equipment in the period, which includes new CT and MRI scanners at six of its hospitals, and compares with an investment of just £19.5m if the first half of 2020.

Spire added that it is expecting a continued rate of “unprecedented demand”, as NHS waiting lists continue to grow.

While it has weathered surging costs, “increased costs of staff absence and late notice patient cancellations in July and August as Covid levels increase,” will continue to bruise the group, it said in a statement.

But the boss reassured shareholders that: “The long-term prospects for the healthcare sector are positive and we stand ready to play our part in addressing waiting lists and supporting the UK’s recovery from the pandemic.”