Failed Belfast Clinic owes £10m

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A private medical clinic which went bust earlier this year had debts of almost £10m, it has emerged.

The Belfast Clinic on the Lisburn Road was set up in 2008 but went into administration in August.

Its biggest debt is to its sole secured creditor Barclays Bank which is owed £8.6m.

The taxpayer and a number of doctors are owed several hundred thousand pounds in total. The Belfast Trust has said it is due about £84,500.

The trust said it is taking steps to recover the money.

However, Barclays, as a secured creditor, will have its debt paid off in full before any unsecured creditors get any money back.

As well as the Belfast Trust, the unsecured creditors include Land and Property Services, HM Revenue and Customs and the Southern Health Trust.

The clinic's directors are two plastic surgeons, Stephen Sinclair from east Belfast and James Small of Helen's Bay.

Waiting List Initiative

The 28,000 sq ft building on the Lisburn Road was set up to provide care both for those referred by the health service and for private patients.

The work referred by the health service was a result of the Waiting List Initiative (WLI) which guaranteed patients care within a set timeframe.

However, WLI work dropped off dramatically following cuts in public spending and despite making a small profit between April 2008 and September 2009, the clinic was soon unable to meet its costs.

When it went into administration in August this year, 26 out of 31 employees were made redundant.

It is the second failed attempt to establish a private independent hospital on this site.

It opened after a similar private venture on the site - the Balmoral Clinic - failed.

A buyer is now being sought for the building to go some way towards paying the company's debts.