Spire Healthcare

From Powerbase
Jump to: navigation, search

Spire Healthcare is a private healthcare company, with 37 private hospitals in the UK. It was formed from the sale of 52 BUPA Hospitals to venture capitalists Cinven in 2007 for £1.4billion, and the purchase of two other healthcare groups.[1]

According to Spire, it employs over 7,600 people nationwide and treats over 930,000 patients per year.

It is one of four private hospital companies - the others being General Healthcare Group, Nuffield Health and Ramsay Health Care - that provide more than 60 per cent of Britain's £3 billion private healthcare market.[2]

Political relationships

Owners Cinven appointed former Labour Secretary of State for Health, Patricia Hewitt in 2008 as an adviser, paying her £60,000 for 18 days’ work a year. According to a Cinven spokesperson, Hewitt is employed "to provide her perspective on trends in the economy and politics".[3]

The relationship was put in the spotlight when an undercover reporter with the Sunday Times recorded Hewitt as claiming to have lobbied for her employers, including claiming it was through her efforts that Partnerships in Care, a private mental service provider owned by Cinven was able to give evidence to a government study. The Sunday Times article said Hewitt also claimed she had “spoken to ministers and civil servants” about changing a carbon reduction regulation that had helped her client Cinven and other private equity companies.[4]


  • Daniel Toner, General Counsel and Group Company Secretary. Previously with Freshfields and the commercial Directorate at the Department of Health, he joined Bupa hospitals as Head of Legal in 2006, becoming General Counsel and Company Secretary for Spire in September 2007.[6]

PR and lobbying

Spire is a member of the H5 lobby group.

Financial lobbying firm FD has handled the financial PR for a number of deals for Cinven, including when Cinven took control of Bupa’s hospitals. Bupa used financial PR firm, Brunswick.[7]

PR Week reported in October 2009 Spire Healthcare appointed Merchant Healthcare Marketing for its public and patient-facing PR activity.[8]

Legal advisers

Under scrutiny from the Office of Fair Trading

Circle, a relatively new private hospital company, is understood to have submitted a complaint to the Office of Fair Trading in 2010 arguing that agreements between the bigger private hospital providers and insurance companies such as Bupa, AXA/PPP and Aviva, which control almost 80 per cent of the market between them, could be anti-competitive. A study by the London School of Economics, Imperial College and the University of Bristol concluded that, in some parts of England, “hospitals operated in de facto monopoly markets”. [10]

The Times reported:

"The private healthcare sector is hoping to receive its biggest boost to business for years, as the coalition is expected to encourage the NHS to pay for more operations at private hospitals. However, criticism from the regulator could lead to a huge shift in the way that the market works."

Adrian Fawcett, chief executive of the more established General Healthcare Group, denied that the market was anti-competitive. He told The Times:

“There is a supply-and-demand issue. None of the major existing players have full facilities at the moment and it gets more difficult for new start-ups to be successful if there isn’t the demand from patients. What we really need to do is drum up more business.”


Spire Healthcare central office
PO Box 62647,
120 Holborn
London EC1P 1JH

Website http://:www.spirehealthcare.com


  1. Spire Healthcare websiteAbout, accessed Nov 2010
  2. Catherine Boyle, OFT carries out exploratory operation on private hospitals, The Times, 12 Oct 2010
  3. Paul Hodkinson, Cinven plays down Hewitt relationship, e-financial news, 22 Mar 2010
  4. Claire Newell, Jonathan Calvert and Solvej Krause, Insight: ‘I’m like a cab for hire – at up to £5,000 a day’, The Sunday Times, March 21, 2010
  5. Spire Healthcare website,Executive Management Team, accessed Nov 2010
  6. Spire Healthcare website,Executive Management Team, accessed Nov 2010
  7. Brunswick wins BUPA work, PR Week UK, 20 June 2007
  8. Spire Healthcare appoints Merchant to handle PR support, PR Week, 16 October 2009
  9. Register 1st September 2014 - 30th November 2014 APPC, accessed 28 January 2015
  10. Catherine Boyle, OFT carries out exploratory operation on private hospitals, The Times, 12 Oct 2010