Vendors sweat as high-tech hospital in Scotland goes into receivership

December 14, 1994

Health Care International awaits a buyerCompanies that supplied equipment to the $290 million Health CareInternational (HCI) hospital near Glasgow, Scotland, are waitingto see if the development can escape closure. At stake are contractsfor

Health Care International awaits a buyer

Companies that supplied equipment to the $290 million Health CareInternational (HCI) hospital near Glasgow, Scotland, are waitingto see if the development can escape closure. At stake are contractsfor medical imaging equipment worth millions of dollars.

HCI went into receivership Nov. 9, only five months after opening,and a receiver is negotiating the sale of the U.S.-backed privatehospital. Interest in taking over the facility has come from twoparties so far, one of which is an investment group in Abu Dhabi.

HCI was built to be an international center of excellence,with an initial emphasis on cardiovascular disease, oncology andcomplex orthopedics. Most patients were to come from Europe, theMiddle East and North Africa. Several eminent U.S. professorshave supported the project and the British government provided$50 million in funding. The 260-bed hospital has 21 operatingrooms and a 168-bedroom hotel.

The high-tech facility fell victim to health care's changingeconomic environment, according to Albert Gillis, HCI's seniordirector of diagnostic services.

"The economics have changed so much since the start ofthe project," Gillis said. "We still feel the conceptis good, but it's unfortunate that we didn't have the time tomake it work. Building up business takes time in this type ofoperation, but patient flow was just starting to come in."

Most of HCI's advanced medical equipment was leased from ComdiscoU.K., an affiliate of the Comdisco Medical Equipment Group inRosemont, IL. Comdisco supplied equipment to HCI as part of a$25 million lease deal signed this summer (SCAN 8/31/94).

GE Medical Systems supplied imaging equipment, which includedtwo MRI and CT scanners. There is also general radiography, nuclearmedicine, mammography and ultrasound equipment.

Marquette supplied HCI with $3 million worth of defibrillatorsand stress-test and monitoring equipment, fulfilling an orderplaced in August 1993. The vendor demanded 10% up front and only$125,000 remains unpaid.

GE is thought to be more exposed, however. The vendor willcontinue to maintain its equipment at HCI as long as the receiveris trying to sell the facility, a U.K. spokesperson said.

"Some of us were surprised to hear about HCI's problems,but others were not, because it has suffered a lot of negativepublicity, particularly from Scottish newspapers," the spokespersonsaid.