Govt caps private hospital bosses' pay

Load Error Under a deal agreed last month, the government took over 8,000 private hospital beds, 20,000 nurses and 700 doctors “at cost” for at least 14 weeks, in what was described as a de facto bailout for the companies. The sector was facing a huge fall in revenues during lockdown, as non-emergency treatments were cancelled and foreign patients – who account for a significant proportionof private hospital income – were prevented from travelling to the UK. (Pictured) Kids offer free lunch to a truck driver at a rest area in Sacaton, Arizona, U.S., on March 31. Medical staff conduct health screening for homeless people on Day 2 of the national lockdown at the Durban Exhibition Centre in South Africa on March 28. A priest makes the cross sign while holding a confession in the church's parking lot while maintaining a safe distance, in Bowie, Maryland, U.S., on March 20. The theatre company has joined the broad movement of institutions and volunteers who responded to the call of making urgently needed protection masks. US-listed hospitals giant HCA Healthcare has cut pay for senior executives by 30%, while the highest-paid director of the UK subsidiary was paid £711,000 in 2018. However, the contracts are understood not to contain provisions relating to executive pay or bonuses beyond the period of NHS control, raising the possibility that some private hospital bosses could still receive large rewards during 2020, even though the companies may have struggled to hit targets or even survive without emergency help from the government or investors. There are also understood to be no limits on dividends beyond the period when the NHS has control of the hospitals, potentially allowing payments to shareholders to resume at a later point. David Hare, the chief executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network, a lobby group for the industry, said: “As part of the recent historic deal whereby independent hospitals have put nearly all their capacity at the disposal of the NHS in responding to coronavirus, the public should be reassured that these additional resources are being reimbursed ‘at cost’ meaningno profit will be made.” Private hospitals owners and shareholders, their lenders and landlords stand to benefit from the deal more than the NHS, according to Vivek Kotecha, a researcher at the Centre for Health and the Public Interest, an independent thinktank. Shares in Spire Healthcare Group, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, surged after the deal was announced in March. It acknowledged that the deal would provide it “sufficient liquidity and financial stability” to weather the outbreak, leaving it in a “strong position” to bounce back when it can restart non-NHS treatments.