A private cancer treatment provider has collapsed, just months after signing a “game-changing” deal with an NHS Trust to help clear the Covid backlog.
Rutherford Health went into administration on Monday, after tossing more than £240 million at developing four therapy centres between 2015 and 2019 in what managers have called a “flawed expansion strategy”.
Around 280 job losses are expected as a result of the collapse, with critics hitting out at an “unsustainable cash burn”.
Since 2015, Rutherford has opened a network of oncology centres – known as the Rutherford Cancer Centres – located in South Wales, Northumberland, Liverpool and Thames Valley.
The group has offered a wide range of advanced cancer treatments – including proton beam therapy, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
A number of factors have been pinpointed for Rutherford’s collapse – including the Covid pandemic, which severely limited the volume of patients paying for services.
It made efforts to increase patient flow by offering the NHS a not-for-profit national contract – in addition to its existing local deals – but this was reportedly not taken up.
Patients are currently being informed of the Group’s collapse – and a small number of patients are being returned to their local NHS Trust to finish their cancer treatment.
Sean Sullivan, chief restructuring officer and interim CEO, said: “Rutherford Health has been committed to providing high quality care, and the past couple of years has proven to be an extremely challenging time for the business.
“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 process.
“This added to severe financial pressures on the business and we had no option other than to place the Group into liquidation.
“We are very proud to have been able to serve the community and cancer patients across the country.”