HCA to fight competition authority over hospital sale
HCA International is set to launch a £2m, year-long legal appeal against the competition watchdog’s decision to force the private healthcare group to sell at least one of its six hospitals in London.
After an exhaustive two-year inquiry led by Roger Witcomb, regulators performed a dramatic last-minute retreat from demanding a similar sell-off programme by the market leader, BMI.
Yesterday’s report is the first under the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which came into force on Tuesday.
The UK arm of HCA, a US healthcare empire with annual revenues of £20bn, is “furious” that it is the only major hospital owner to have been forced into divestitures.
Mr Witcomb was one of the two members of the five-person panel who vetoed an earlier, preliminary ruling forcing BMI to sell seven centres.
Mr Witcomb told The Independent that it was “impossible to get a picture” of certain market dynamics, making forced sell-offs unfair on BMI – but he conceded that the decision was “finely balanced”.
HCA’s commercial director, Keith Biddlestone, said that focusing on HCA “makes us more furious – but in some ways it strengthens our appeal”.
The CMA has demanded that HCA makes a choice between selling either the London Bridge and Princess Grace hospitals or the 266-bed Wellington Hospital Platinum Medical Centre, all of which are in the capital. HCA was considered to have a dominant grip on the London market.
The healthcare insurer Bupa also found itself at the centre of many of the fiercest criticisms from customers and consultants during the inquiry. Insurers were not included within the inquiry’s remit, though Mr Witcomb was critical of evidence which suggested that policies had been changed without patients’ consent.
Mr Biddlestone said: “From the beginning we’ve said to the inquiry that they should be looking the other way – health insurers are the ones that the public complain about.”
Alex Perry, director of health and benefits at Bupa, said it “quite clearly won’t change policies without notice”.
- 1 Expert urges cat lovers to own just one animal each
- 2 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 3 The Simpsons death: Creator Al Jean would 'kill himself' before character like Homer or Lisa
- 4 British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Expert urges cat lovers to own just one animal each
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
British man raped while urinating in bushes at Oktoberfest beer festival in Germany
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
'Women, walk wherever you want' posters taken down in Stamford Hill following 'unacceptable' signs separating men and women
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...