News

Private firm will operate entire NHS hospital

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.c1060 (Published 22 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1060
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1Margate

    An NHS district general hospital will be run by a private organisation for the first time after the decision by a fellow NHS body to drop out of a bidding process.

    Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust in Huntingdonshire is the first NHS trust to invite potential partners from within and outside the NHS to apply for a franchise to operate the hospital. The only remaining NHS organisation that was bidding to manage the hospital—Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust—withdrew from the bidding saying that the costs were too high.

    Unions are worried about the development and fear it is a “dangerous experiment” that goes against recent comments from the Department of Health and health secretary Andy Burnham that the NHS should be the “preferred provider” of services.

    The trust, which has an accumulated deficit of £38.9m ($60m €44m) as of March 2009, is keen to proceed with the bidding process that now involves five private …

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