Ulster Independent Clinic generates £28 million in patients' fees

The Ulster Independent Clinic on Belfast's Stranmillis Road generated more than £28 million in patients' fees last year, according to its accounts
Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE Ulster Independent Clinic, one of the north's biggest private hospitals, generated more than £28 million in patients' fees last year, according to its latest accounts.

And the Stranmillis Road-based clinic, which is a non-profit distributing charitable company limited by guarantee, had total funds for charitable purposed of £35.6 million at its financial year-end of April 2018.

UIC is recognised as a charity by HM Revenue & Customs and therefore does not pay tax on the majority of income and gains used for charitable purposes, known as charitable expenditure.

Figures filed at Companies House reveal that the organisation's total income last year from patient fees was £28.15 million, representing an increase of 4.3 per cent on the previous year.

Its total expenditure came in at £27.46 million, giving it a surplus of just over £690,000.

When a £2.8m gain on a defined benefit pension scheme was factored in, it meant UIC could add more than £3.5m to its funds over the year, and when added to the pot brought forward, it means it is currently sitting on funds of £35,634,532.

The clinic closed its defined benefit pension scheme to new members from April 2016, when the overall pension scheme deficit was actuarially assessed as nearly £3.5m.

The strategic report of the board of directors, whose non-executive members receive no fees, does not quantify the extent to which the recent increases have been a reflection of an increased number of patients being treated or increased charges for the services of the clinic.

The report points to staff receiving a 3 per cent salary increase and also refers to a significant investment in improving the clinic's out-patient facilities.

The number of people employed by the UIC over the year rose slightly to 350, made up of 179 nurses, 62 administrative staff, 66 ancillary workers and 43 others, and its total wages bill came in at £10.3 million (that's a crude average of more than £29,440).

Two of its directors (who aren't identified in the accounts) receive total payments of £214,661.

Another 15 employees, most understood to be consultants, were paid more than £50,000, including four who were paid between £70,000 and £120,000.

Last year the clinic, based one of the most affluent areas of Belfast, was heavily criticised when it was revealed that, because of its charitable status, its annual rates bill came in at less than £1,000 whereas health bosses at the Belfast Trust paid out almost £5m on rates for the Royal Victoria, Belfast City, Mater and Musgrave Park Hospitals.

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