Under its contract with the NHS, Circle Healthcare, the private firm which runs Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, is allowed to claim the first £2 million of any annual surplus, plus a percentage of any further surplus (a quarter of the remaining surplus between £2-6 million, and a third of that between £6-10 million).
The Health Service Journal (HSJ) has published a report (3 May) saying the hospital will need to make surpluses of at least £70 million over the next decade if it is to clear its debts and meet Circle’s contracted share.
Yet in the past decade, the hospital has never made an annual surplus of more than £600,000, suggesting that very severe cuts will be needed to meet this target, the report said.
Circle are talking up the “efficiency” savings they plan to make. They say the number of patients staying in hospital for more than 10 days has dropped. But, says Tracy Lambert of Unison, Hinchingbrooke, these figures are misleading — the hospital has fewer long-stay patients than others in the county.
Circle began its 10-year management franchise in February in what is seen as a potential model for other hospitals across the country.
This private company is beginning to organise the hospital to get, in the long-term, at least some profit.
The labour movement needs to monitor and resist measures that undermine the interests of patients.
Health Alarm protest
Mobilise to save the NHS
Protest against Care UK
Private profiteers in the NHS
Wednesday 30 May, 5-6.30pm
St Vincent’s House, 21 Great Winchester Street, EC2N 2JA