Hospital lifesaver Circle loses extra £2.2m
Jeremy Laurance is a writer on health issues. He is former health editor of The Independent and the i and has covered the specialism for more than 20 years. He thinks the harm medicine does is under-appreciated, the harm it prevents over-rated, and that cycling works better than most drugs. He was named Specialist Journalist of the Year in the 2011 British Press Awards.
Thursday 08 November 2012
The first private company to take over the running of a debt-laden NHS hospital was never properly challenged on whether the savings it planned were achievable and increased its losses in the first six months, a report says.
The management of Hinchingbrooke NHS Hospital in Cambridgeshire was passed to Circle in a franchise deal last February on the basis that it would eliminate its cumulative debt of £39m over ten years.
Today the National Audit Office says the company’s claims may have been over ambitious after results for the first six months to last September, showed the 223-bed hospital’s losses rose to £4.1m, £2.2 million more than planned.
However, the hospital improved clinical performance with shorter waiting times in A&E and for cancer treatment.
Margaret Hodge, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said the Department of Health needed to “learn the lessons from the mistakes” involved in the deal with Circle before agreeing to any further franchise arrangements.
“While there have been welcome clinical improvements, it is essential that pressure to make savings does not simply lead to cuts in services in future,” she said.
Ali Parsa, chief executive of Circle, said the hospital had won “unprecedented positive reports” for its clinical performance and there was “little doubt” it would break even next year. “Not bad for a hospital that was written off as a clinical and financial basket case.”
The NHS Confederation said it was “unrealistic” to make judgments about Circle’s performance at “such an early stage”.
Life & Style blogs
Who is Teresa Fidalgo? Debunking the fake ghost story that's got Instagram spooked
The 10 Best Scotch Whiskies
Scottish salmon sales leap as Asia develops a taste
Grim second life of the 'breastaurant': The oft-loathed sector is booming in the States thanks to Hooters, Twin Peaks and Tilted Kilt
Health: When masturbation can be fatal: The practice of auto-erotic asphyxia is often concealed by a coroner's verdict. Monique Roffey looks at a lethal taboo
- 1 The political parties aren't all the same – which means 2015 will be a 'big-choice' election
- 2 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...
£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...