Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Company snapshot: Ulster Independent Clinic Ltd.

This private clinic is in rude health

The Ulster Independent Clinic is registered as a non-profit distributing charitable company, limited by guarantee.

Consequently, the clinic has accumulated reserve funds but does not have any funds attributed to shareholders.

In the decade to 2009 the clinic more than trebled its annual charge and fee income from just over £7m in 2000 to over £21m in the year to April 2009. In the last three years, annual fee income has continued to increase but at a much more modest rate. The clinic earns a relatively stable annual surplus, or profit, on its operations which fell significantly in 2011 and has partially recovered more recently.

Capital spending reached a peak in 2008 at over £5m. More recently, the clinic has had a lower level of annual capital spending. The enhanced capacity created some years ago continues to sustain an improved financial performance.

The company has no significant amount of outstanding debt. Capital expenditure has been financed by using the funds from accumulated annual surpluses.

The balance sheet value of reserves (or members' funds) has risen as retained annual operating surpluses are used to finance investment, the value of which is then reflected in the expressed value of the tangible assets. Unusually, in the most recent year, the balance sheet value of reserves fell by 6% as a result of an actuarial assessment of a increased deficit on its pension funds.

In the year 2009-10, average employment of 341 people was slightly lower than a year earlier.

In 2011-12, average employment fell by 1% to 338 people.

The clinic provides a defined benefit pension plan for some staff. From June 2010 the directors changed the nature of the pension scheme to reflect a member's career average salary rather than the salary in the final years. This change created an exceptional release of £963,000 to the pensions' deficit. However, in 2011-12, the clinic has registered an increased deficit of £3.9m on its pension fund. These accounts do not include the professional charges paid to the medical staff who are paid directly by patients for their services.

The report by the directors includes a reference to the activities of the clinic in carrying out pro-bono procedures during the year which cost over £154,000.

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