Circle predicted “unprecedented” savings from running Hinchingbrooke, says watchdog

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 08 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7590
  1. Gareth Iacobucci

NHS managers failed to adequately assess whether the savings that private firm Circle said it could make from running Hinchingbrooke Hospital were achievable before handing over the franchise, the national spending watchdog has found.

All other potential franchises currently being considered by the Department of Health, such as George Elliot Hospital NHS Trust in Nuneaton, should be put on hold until a detailed review of the Hinchingbrooke case has been carried out, said the National Audit Office in its report on the deal.1

Circle took over the management of Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust in Cambridgeshire in February 2012 on a 10 year franchise deal, and assumed responsibility for the trust’s debts of around £40m (€50m; $64m).

But despite plans to achieve £311m in projected savings by the end of the 10 year …

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