Firms set to profit from reforms of NHS

Two private healthcare groups, Circle Holdings and Primary Health Properties, yesterday showed they are poised to capitalise on the Government's controversial NHS reforms.

Circle was the first private company to be given a contract to run an NHS hospital when it was awarded a £1bn, 10-year deal to take over Cambridgeshire's Hinchingbrooke Hospital last year.

Its finance director, Paolo Pieri, said: "We have an NHS focus and are keen to do more in the NHS arena. With or without the [new healthcare] Bill, we feel that we can add value."

Circle said that it was aiming to double its number of NHS contracts to four, as well as running at least four independent hospitals, by the end of 2014.

Its other current NHS contract is running Europe's largest treatment centre in Nottingham.

"Hitchenbrook is a fantastic opportunity for us to prove our model," Mr Pieri said. Circle began running the hospital earlier this month.

Separately, Primary HealthProperties, which builds healthcentres, GP surgeries and pharmacies, yesterday announced that its annual rental income increased by £3.8m to £30.7m last year, and posted an underlying profit of £10m, up from £9.1m a year earlier.