Staff "devastated" after Rutherford Health liquidation

Private healthcare group failed to attract enough patients or strike deal with the NHS

Published: 06 June 2022 Trade Union & IR

A private healthcare provider which operates a network of cancer and diagnostic centres in the UK has gone into liquidation, leaving radiographers wondering how they will pay their bills at the end of the month.

Rutherford Health Group has a network of oncology centres known as the Rutherford Cancer Centres located in South Wales, Northumberland, Liverpool and the Thames Valley.

More recently the Group opened the first community diagnostics centre of its kind in England.

Staff at the Group’s centres were informed today and arrangements are being made to transfer patients to alternative facilities.

A radiographer who wished to remain anonymous and who has worked at the company for two years told Synergy that the news has come as a complete shock.

"We had been made aware that the latest investment attempt fell through and last week the communications were still focused on arranging that, so to come in today to liquidation was a surprise, to say the least.

"Everyone is devastated at the moment and really scared - we don't even get redundancy pay, we have to get statutory, so naturally everybody is really worried about bills etc especially as most hospitals have already finished their recruitment drives for the year.'

The source said the mood among employees was extremely negative.

"People are really angry to be honest. We had even just hired an apprentice rad a couple of months ago and nobody is having their questions answered at the moment - all the senior managers in the big Teams call this morning were acting as if we should be grateful that we have a job until Thursday, even though people have no idea how they will pay their mortgages and bills by the end of the week."

They added that many radiographers had shown considerable commitment and loyalty to Rutherford.

"Some of the rads are single parents, many have mortgages and we are just being kicked to the kerb after all we have done for this company.  Really shameful way to treat employees who were so committed to the cause," they said.

The company said a number of factors have contributed to the decision including a drop in patient numbers during the pandemic.

Rutherford added that it “made efforts to increase patient flow by offering the NHS a not-for-profit national contract in addition to existing local contracts but this was not taken up”.

Sean Sullivan, chief restructuring officer and interim CEO, said: “Covid has been particularly damaging for us as fewer patients were presenting with side effects during the lockdowns, and as a result cancer diagnosis has been delayed and sadly, in many cases, missed. This has meant fewer cancer patients have been presenting to our centres.

“Added to that, the business had grown rapidly over recent years. It was a very expensive business to set up, with over £240 million of capital expenditure to build and develop the cancer centres across the country, however, unfortunately patient numbers have not matched that.

 “We made several offers to the NHS, and whilst we secured some contracts they were insufficient and we have not been able to secure mechanisms to expedite the process. This added to severe financial pressures on the business and we had no option other than to place the Group into liquidation.” 

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