Published: 10:00, 25 January 2018
A private hospital made its first monthly profit since its launch four years ago as growing numbers of patients bypassed the NHS and paid for their own treatment.
KIMS Hospital in Maidstone rewarded its 300 staff with a free meal in January after recording its first surplus in November, with revenues passing its monthly break even point of about £3 million.
It comes as its latest accounts show income from people paying for their own healthcare treatment – excluding those on private health insurance – grew by 22% in the year to April 2017.
Its annual turnover increased 40% to £23.2m, also helped by a 43% increase in NHS funded patients.
The hospital’s chief executive Simon James said people were choosing to go private to avoid lengthy delays on waiting lists.
It comes as the NHS delayed all routine appointments until the end of January in a bid to free up capacity for emergency patients.
Mr James said: “You’re not going to die if you don’t have your knee replaced, however you’re in immense pain, it affects your quality of life and you might not be able to work.
"There are important ramifications for society about not being able to support these patients.
"The NHS is sadly in a place where we haven’t got enough money to meet the expectations of the population.
"We’ve seen quite a shift in people starting to pay for themselves.”
Mr James said the hospital’s investors were happy with its progress after it cut annual losses by 39% to £9.7m in its third full year of operation.
Its losses had increased by 4% to £15.9m over the previous 12 months.
It treated a total of 6,753 patients during the year and remains on target to make its first annual profit within its five to seven year plan.
Mr James said: “I’m really proud that we’ve got a hospital that can be flexible enough to meet the demand of people in Kent.
"If people say they don’t want to wait and want to pay then we’re here and can support that.
“It supports the local NHS as well in a sense because those people then don’t need to go and have their treatment on the NHS and maybe someone else can have that slot.”
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