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Healthcare giant HCA eyes NHS

The world’s largest private healthcare company is looking to expand further into the NHS, according to new information from the Competition Commission.

The Independent reports that the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), which already caters for around half of all private patients in London, wants more NHS partnerships. The firm is co-owned by the assets management firm whose profits helped fund Mitt Romney’s campaigns for the US presidency.  Although Romney stepped down as the head of Bain Capital in 1999, he negotiated a deal that pays him a share of its profits and delivers millions of dollars in income each year.

According to The Independent, several medical insurers told commission investigators of their “serious concerns about the lack of competition in central London, and in particular about the strong position of HCA” as insurer spending on HCA hospitals increases.

AXA, the second biggest insurer behind Bupa, has cited HCA’s plan to take over Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS PPU as an example of it stifling competition. Insurer WPA “expressed a concern that when HCA took over the running of an NHS PPU they tended to be much more expensive”, the commission’s report added.

A spokesperson for the company told the daily: “Unlike many other UK private hospital groups, HCA does not routinely provide care for NHS funded patients.

“HCA provides high quality, often complex, care for private patients from our London hospitals treating people from the UK and across the world. HCA hospitals are part of London’s position as a global centre of healthcare excellence, competing with New York, Singapore, Thailand, and Germany.”