Mutual organisation takes over ailing NHS hospital

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 29 November 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c6876
  1. Nicholas Timmins
  1. 1Financial Times

A private hospital operator, Circle, has been given a 10 year franchise to run the ailing Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

The most complete takeover to date of a district general hospital by the private sector in the NHS’s 62 year history has provoked strong reactions. The BMA branded it an “untested and worrying experiment,” while Unison, the large trade union that represents many healthcare workers, condemned it as a move that would “put profits before patients” and “devastate the community,” given that Circle has no experience of running a district hospital.

By contrast the employers’ organisation the Confederation of British Industry praised the deal, which is still subject to formal ratification by the Treasury, as a “trailblazing” new form …

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