Ramsay Health Care UK – a subsidiary of Ramsay Healthcare (Australia)

Established 1964 in Australia (1) by Paul J Ramsay

Private hospitals, orthopaedics, general surgery, cardiac surgery and eye surgery. Ramsay Healthcare operates 116 hospitals in four countries, with 10,000 beds and 30,000 staff. The company treats over one million patients per year. (2) In the UK Ramsay Health has a network of 22 hospitals, nine treatment centres and four neurological units in the UK delivering both private treatment and care under contract to the NHS. (1) 

Through a process of acquisition in its home market Ramsay Health has become Australia’s largest private hospital operator. Acquisitions have included other private hospital groups, with the largest being of Affinity Healthcare in 2005, which increased Ramsay’s hospitals from 35 to 69. Ramsay also has a history in Australia of moving into the public hospital sector. In 1994/1995 Ramsay Health Care won bids to privatise two government-owned repatriation hospitals (also known as veterans hospitals) – Hollywood Hospital in Perth and Greenslopes Hospital in Brisbane. This strategy has continued and in 2012 two private/public hospitals were in development. (2,3)

Ramsay Healthcare’s first foray outside Australia was to Indonesia where it now runs three private hospitals; these were acquired with the acquisition of Affinity Health in 2005. Then in 2007 the company acquired Capio, at the time the fourth largest operator of private hospitals in the UK. The company’s focus for expansion switched to France in 2010, with the March 2010 acquisition of 57% of the French hospital company Group Proclif SAS, now known as Ramsay Santé. Ramsay’s expansion in France has continued, with the May 2011 acquisition of the Clinique Convert hospital, which Ramsay notes is a first step in expanding the Ramsay Santé business, with plans for further expansion. The company currently operates nine hospitals in France. (2,3)

In a March 2011 briefing for the company’s investors in the UK market the company noted that the NHS bill (at that time) was positive for the company and that a key priority for the company was to influence national policy. In November 2012 Ramsay noted that in the UK it is planning to “commence strategy of broadening our service delivery platform” and that “Health care reform is expected to provide continuing opportunities for the private sector.” (2,4)

In November 2012 there were several media reports that Ramsay might be planning to acquire Spire Healthcare for $1.85 billion. (5,6,7)

In the UK Ramsay’s business is conducted through Ramsay Health Care UK Operations Ltd. The most recent accounts available from Companies House are for the financial year ending 30 June 2011. (2,8)

Full accounts are published by the Australian parent company, Ramsay Health Care. Accounts are available for the financial year ending June 2012. Revenue was up 6.4% to A$3.9 billion and net profit was A$245.9 million, up 23% on the previous year. Ramsay Health Care group paid A$90.7 million in tax in Australia in the year to end June 2012. The UK contributed 14% to operating revenue and UK revenue rose 3.0% during the year to £363.8 million. (2)

In 1997 Ramsay Health Care was floated on the Australian stock exchange and became a public company. The five largest shareholders as of June 2012 are as follows (2):

  • Paul Ramsay Holdings (36.2%)
  • HSBC (11.98%)
  • J P Morgan (9.91%)
  • National Nominees Ltd (8.44%)
  • BNP Paribas Nominees (2.32%)

In November 2012 Ramsay reported that NHS admissions had risen 11.3% compared to the financial year 2011 and now comprise more than 65% of UK admissions. According to a Guardian report Ramsay Health Care is the third biggest supplier to the NHS receiving £30 million in revenue in 2010/2011. (2,9)

Ramsay Healthcare runs NHS treatment centres (ISTC) and performs surgery at nearly all its hospitals and clinics for the NHS.

In 2010 Ramsay Health was a bidder in the tender process for running Hinchingbrooke hospital; Ramsay eventually withdrew from the process in August 2010. In October 2012 Ramsay Healthcare was reported to be one of the bidders for the new contract to run the Nottingham ISTC beginning in 2013; this is currently run by Circle Health. (10)

Ramsay Healthcare is part of the Private Hospitals Alliance (formerly H5) which lobbies Westminster on issues regarding healthcare and the role of private companies in delivering NHS services. (11)

In 2007, Ramsay Health agreed a 10-year deal with Bromley Hospitals Trust (now South London Hospitals Trust) for the Princess Royal University Hospital in Orpington to build a £4.2 million, 25-bed unit, which the trust would then rent to Ramsay Health UK for £500,000 a year. But in June 2009, just two years into the contract, Ramsay closed the unit saying it was no longer commercially viable. This has left the already deeply in debt South London Hospitals Trust having to pay back eight years rent that was paid upfront by Ramsay Health, and with no money to pay the running costs of the unit without impacting on its budget or to offset the £4.2 million the unit cost to build. (12)

In March 2011 Jill Watts CEO of Ramsay Health UK was called to give evidence before the Public Accounts Committee. Although Watts was at ­first evasive on the issue of failure, eventually she admitted that should a business be failing then the company would close it. When questioned on what would then happen to the patients she noted that that would depend “on what the marketplace is”. (13)


  1. http://www.ramsayhealth.co.uk/contact-us/about-us.aspx
  2. http://www.ramsayhealth.com/About-Us/Ramsay-Health-Care-Timeline.aspx
  3. http://www.ramsayhealth.com/Investor-Centre/docs/Market_Briefings_14032011.pdf
  4. Accounts for Ramsay Health Care UK Operations Ltd for the financial year to 30 June 2011 obtained from Companies House in January 2013
  5. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmpubacc/c764-ii/c76401.htm (Q258)
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