Bupa is considering selling its 26 hospitals, which currently look after around 800,000 patients each year.
The private healthcare provider has confirmed that preliminary discussions with potential purchasers are underway, although the group insists that they may not actually lead to a sale, Healthcare Equipment and Supplies reveals.
A statement from the group confirmed that a review is underway "to establish whether, given the significant changes in the UK healthcare economy and in particular the increasing role the private sector is playing in that market, there may be benefits for the customers and other stakeholders of Bupa Hospitals and the Bupa Group in a sale of Bupa Hospitals".
As Bupa, the UK's largest private healthcare company, is a not-for-profit organisation, the proceeds of any such sale would probably go towards expanding the group's care home business.
Bupa Care Homes operates a range of residential and nursing homes, some of which offer specialist care for young physically disabled people or patients with Parkinson's or Huntington's disease.
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Harley Street News update: April 2007