Northern Ireland

Private health firm 3fivetwo sees fall in profit and turnover

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Image caption 3fivetwo owns the Kingsbridge Private Hospital in south Belfast and a range of other businesses

Northern Ireland's largest private medical group saw a significant fall in turnover and profit for the year ending March 2015.

The performance at the 3fivetwo group likely reflects the decision by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) to "pause" referrals to private clinics.

Turnover was down from £42m to £33m with pre-tax profit falling from £1.7m to £561,000.

Staff numbers were also down over the year from 311 to 277.

A note in the accounts states that the group continued its strategy of "diversification".

It added that this was to reduce dependence on the waiting list contracts "delivered in partnership with the NHS".

In July 2014, the Health and Social Care Board told health trusts to "pause" referrals to private clinics as part of a move to save money.

That probably contributed to a rise in waiting lists and private clinic referrals are beginning again.

The 3fivetwo accounts show that post-year end, in June 2015, it sold its investment in the Dental Excellence Group.

Part of the proceeds from that deal were used to buy St Joseph's private hospital in Sligo.

The 3fivetwo group owns the Kingsbridge Private Hospital in south Belfast and a range of other businesses, including Origin Fertility Care.

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