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Company Report: Ulster Independent Clinic

By John Simpson

The Ulster Independent Clinic in Belfast is a large private sector charitable hospital. Locally, there are now four hospital-type independent health providers based outside the public sector, each available to attract patients from the private sector or to undertake contract work for the NHS.

The revenue earned by the clinic from patients' fees increased more significantly in the year 2015-16 than in other recent years. The strategic report of the directors does not quantify the extent to which the recent increases have been a reflection of an increased number of patients being treated or increased charges for the services of the clinic.

The clinic is a non-profit distributing charitable company, limited by guarantee. The board of directors, whose non-executive members receive no fees, reports annually to the members. The clinic usually earns an annual surplus, or profit, on its operations. The annual surplus peaked in 2009-10 at £2.6m. Since then it has decreased to £1m in 2014-15 but increased again in 2015-16 to over £1.3m.

Pre-tax profit has recently varied because of extra actuarial costs (or gains) from changes in the actuarial value of the accumulated pension funds. In 2014-15, this was a significant deficit adjustment followed in 2015-16 by a positive adjustment. The clinic closed its defined benefit pension scheme to new members from April 2016 when the overall pension scheme deficit was actuarially assessed as nearly £3.5m.

In 2015-16, average employment increased by 4% to 333 people.

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