Blackrock Clinic buys neighbouring two-acre site

Country’s biggest private hospital continues expansion plans after increasing profits

Blackrock Clinic: Running at “high level of occupancy”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Blackrock Clinic: Running at “high level of occupancy”. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Blackrock Clinic has acquired two acres of land from neighbouring St Catherine’s College to allow for expansion of what is one of the biggest private hospitals in the country.

The site was a former home economics teacher-training college and has been rented by the clinic for the past five years. It will add to the hospital’s existing prime 6.3-acre plot in Blackrock, Co Dublin.

“We want a lot more beds because we’re running very high levels of occupancy,” said Bryan Harty, the clinic’s chief executive. “We want to reorganise our diagnostic facilities . . . and I also want to re-engineer a lot of the healthcare processes.

“We need to move forward in terms of our technology and working practices and we’re thinking of setting up some specialist facilities in there.”

Latest accounts for Blackrock Clinic, which have been provided to The Irish Times, show that the hospital increased its pre-tax profit by 24 per cent to €13.6 million last year.

Expansion in capacity

The clinic was also a beneficiary of the closure of Mount Carmel hospital in south Dublin in January 2014, which led to a number of patients being referred to Blackrock.

Mr Harty, who joined the hospital in 2000 having relocated from the UK, said its bed occupancy is currently running at 80 per cent, up from 76 per cent last year. The hospital currently has 168 beds and had 7,765 inpatients last year, and almost 25,000 day-care discharges.

Turnover at Blackrock Hospital Ltd and subsidiaries rose to €103.4 million in 2014 compared with €93 million in the previous year.

Its corporate tax charge increased to €1.6 million from €1.2 million in the previous 12 months. The accounts show that the company paid €4 million in dividends to shareholders, who include beef baron Larry Goodman, having paid them €5.6 million in 2013.

Legal dispute

John Flynn

Mr Harty declined to comment on the dispute. “Other than to say that it doesn’t affect the running of the business,” he said, adding that shareholders had agreed to spend another €2.5 million on equipment.

The accounts show that the company had a bank loan of €52.5 million at the end of 2014 which was due to be refinanced this year.

In 2014, the hospital employed 724 staff directly and 114 indirectly through catering and cleaning contractors. It also employed some workers through agencies. Its payroll costs rose by 9 per cent to just over €37 million but the amount spent on temporary contracts and agency staff reduced to €1.4 million from €1.6 million in 2013.

Mr Harty said the biggest challenge “by a country mile” that he faces is recruiting nurses. “It’s an international problem, actually. There aren’t enough nurses in the world.”