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Weighing up private firms: Care UK

This week Fiona Barr evaluates Care UK Plc, one of the bigger private sector healthcare players.

Care UK was founded in 1994 when it originally focused on providing specialist services to the elderly and mentally ill.

Since then the company has become much more broadly based across health and social care and its strategy is to continue to focus on both markets.

Care UK identifies its strength and differentiation from competitors as its strong presence in both sectors and hopes to capitalise on this as government policy seeks to integrate health and social care.

The company's website states: 'We combine our practical experience and knowledge of healthcare to provide solutions for the NHS in a number of areas.'

Care UK's West Midlands independent sector treatment centre (ISTC) was decommissioned by the DoH in February this year and a compensation claim is under negotiation.

Care UK Plc

  • Primary care presence: Runs three GP practices; three out-of-hours centres; four clinical assessment, treatment and support services; an urgent care centre; four walk-in centres; a minor injury unit; three primary care-facing diagnostic centres; six prison health services; and an ISTC delivering ambulatory care. Also, works with practice-based commissioning groups and individual GP practices.
  • Other business: Nine ISTCs. Social care (more than half its business): 3,293 beds in residential homes; 120,000 hours a week home care; specialist care with children's mental health and learning disabilities services.
  • Plans for future: To be a leading provider of health and social care. Intends to bid for primary care services under equitable access procurement in under-doctored areas and GP-led health centres.
  • Focus on providing 'out of hospital' primary care.
  • Worth noting: Acquired Mercury Health in 2007.
  • Rating: Major player with a broad base across health and social care.
  • Financial information: The company claims growth of about 30 per cent a year. In the year to March 2008, revenue was £266.7 million, up 41 per cent on previous year; and operating profit was up 37 per cent to £15.9 million. This summer took complete control of the Partnership Health Group which provides ISTCs.
  • Find out more at www.careuk.com.

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