Union says private healthcare company has systematically failed at Hinchingbrooke Hospital

Circle-HealthcareUnions have said said privatising Hinchingbrooke Hospital was guaranteed to be a failure.

Speaking after Circle said it planned to pull out of its contract to manage Britain’s first privately-run hospital, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Privatising Hinchingbrooke was guaranteed to be a failure. It was a dangerous government experiment which should now raise alarm bells for any other firms who think that running hospitals is an easy route to profit.

“The experience shows that forcing a privatised model on the NHS was never going to work.

“Circle has systematically failed at Hinchingbrooke. It has caused untold damage to the finances of the hospital, services, local NHS patients and staff, and has placed the future of Hinchingbrooke at significant risk.

“The NHS is simply not shaped for competition. This government’s obsession with selling off our National Health Service is a huge waste of taxpayers’ money. Setting up the model was an unnecessary expense which could have been used to recruit more staff and deal with the growing demand on services.

“The NHS is currently struggling with its biggest crisis in a decade and despite this, staff are working day in and day out caring for the most vulnerable. Meanwhile, at the first sign of trouble Circle is off, leaving local NHS patients and staff facing huge uncertainties about the future.”

And Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Hinchingbrooke has gone full circle from flagship to complete failure. This is proof that the privatisation of the NHS is a disastrous experiment at the expense of our healthcare. We believe Circle jumped before it was pushed with the company cynically using the A&E crisis as cover to pull out of its contract.”

“It’s time to scrap the disastrous Health & Social Care act which has opened the door to the wholesale privatisation of the NHS and for David Cameron to use his veto in Europe to get the NHS out of TTIP. The disastrous management of  Hinchingbrooke is also a warning on why our NHS should not be included in this trade deal called TTIP.

“If the deal goes through it would give US companies and US investors rights to sue the UK for unlimited sums if a government ever tried to take renationalise NHS contracts. David Cameron must use his veto to get the NHS out of TTIP.”

Meanwhile, GMB has called an emergency meeting to discuss the situation on Wednesday. More details on Monday.

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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