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The owner of Dudley Private Hospital wants to buy the only competitor in town

June 20, 2023

By Peter Holmes

The rumour has been swirling around medical circles for the past fortnight, and now it has come to pass, with the owners of Dudley Private Hospital set to take over Orange Private Hospital (OPH) following negotiations.

On May 20, 2023, The Orange News Examiner broke the story that Orange Private Hospital was seeking an injection of funds, or possibly a new owner, following a torrid launch period during Covid.

Asked if it had been a struggle to fill some staffing positions, one of the owners, surgeon Dr Bill Mackie, said: “It has been for the last two years, attracting staffing. There is a shortage of nursing staff right through the system, public and private".

“We've had a very difficult two years … otherwise we wouldn’t be looking for new investors and the possibility of even selling part or all of the hospital," he said. "I think the staff have been aware of that, that’s been the plan to keep things going.”

On May 23, 2023, it was revealed that Orange Private Hospital had been placed into voluntary administration.

The hospital continued to operate under administrators Ernst & Young (EY) as the company sought new owners. EY said it was "business as usual basis providing a full suite of services to patients".

Dudley Private Hospital. Google Street View.

"All staff have been retained and have continued to work with the administrators to coordinate operational matters associated with the day to day functioning of the hospital," EY said.

EY launched an "urgent expression of interest campaign for the sale of OPH. There was a strong level of engagement from parties despite the accelerated timeline".

In assessing the NBIOs [a non-binding indicative offer] the administrator said it considered the commercial terms of the offer, the proposal for retention of employees and the financial capacity and experience of the interested parties.

The administrators have now accepted an offer from Ramsay Health Care (Ramsay) to purchase the business and assets of OPH on a going concern basis.

"The acquisition will be completed through a Deed of Company Arrangement subject to creditors’ approval at the second meeting of creditors to be held on 28 June 2023."

Ramsay has operated Dudley Private Hospital for almost 20 years.

Subject to certain deal conditions and regulatory approvals the administrators expect a transaction to complete in early July 2023.

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