Business as usual for Beacon Hospital after Denis O'Brien takeover
BUSINESSMAN Denis O'Brien is taking over the 214-bed Beacon Private Hospital in south Dublin from Monday.
US-based hospital operator UPMC Ireland told the hospital's 800 staff yesterday evening that it was relinquishing all management responsibilities for the debt-laden hospital in Sandyford.
Hospital director Mark Redmond welcomed the news and reassured patients and staff that it would be business as usual.
"Today's announcements will have no impact on patients or employees of the hospital," he said.
The hospital was set up during the boom but has struggled to make money ever since despite carving out a reputation for orthopaedics, women's health and cancer treatments.
The Beacon's change in ownership is the latest in a series of hospital closures and takeovers, as owners struggle with heavy debts and spiralling medical costs.
Some of these closures have left doctors and property developers with large debts.
Earlier this year, Mount Carmel Hospital in Rathgar, south Dublin went into liquidation and then closed. It had been opened 65 years earlier by the Little Company of Mary Sisters but was bought by developer Gerry Conlan in 2006 for €50m.
In the case of the Beacon, Ulster Bank has sold loans linked to the Beacon to Mr O'Brien.
The businessman will now use the deal to take control of the hospital, UPMC said in a statement. A spokesman for Mr O'Brien was not immediately available.
"The new debt owner will not restructure the debt and clearly indicated his intent to own, control and manage Beacon Hospital," UPMC added.
"Without a restructuring, UPMC Ireland must agree to the demands and sent notice to representatives of the debt owner that it will agree to sell its ownership for a nominal value and relinquish management responsibilities for the hospital in addition to ceasing all affiliation whatsoever with the facility."
The Beacon has around 600 staff and 200 doctors – although some of the consultants also work in other hospitals. It lost around €9.8m in 2012 on a turnover of €70m.
UPMC, which controls 21 other hospitals in the US and Europe, became the operator of the Beacon's cancer unit in 2007 and took over the entire hospital in February 2008.
UPMC also owns a cancer centre in Waterford together with the Whitfield Clinic. That link will continue, UPMC said last night.