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Failing NHS hospital to be privately managed

8th July 2010

Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire is set to become the first hospital in the UK to be privately managed.

The Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Trust pulled out of the multi-million pound bidding process to run the hospital – which has debts of £40m – leaving the three private companies, Serco, Ramsay Health Care and Circle Health, bidding to manage the hospital.

Earlier this year, the government introduced a scheme where private companies could take over the management of struggling hospitals.

It is estimated some 20 hospitals in the UK are falling short of minimum standards on quality, safety or finances and could follow Hinchingbrooke in being privately run within a year.

There has been opposition to the move for Hinchingbrooke Hospital, which is situated at Huntingdon, with unions and local health campaigners raising concerns that private managers will put profits before patients.

Tom Woodcock, of Cambridgeshire Against Cuts, said: “It's a dangerous idea as the shareholder will be above patient care. The only way you can make a profit is to cut something, to lower the standard of delivery or make staff work extra hours.

“We are trying to reinstate the NHS as a national health service and not a patchwork of providers.”

Steve Sweeney, secretary of Huntingdon and St Neots trades council, is part of the campaign to keep Hinchingbrooke public has been involved in the organisation of a protest march against the plan for it to be privately run.

He said workers at the hospital were very much against its privatisation.

 

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Article Information

Title: Failing NHS hospital to be privately managed
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 15429
Date Added: 8th Jul 2010

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