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Flagship hospital placed in special measures after private firm pulls out

A flagship hospital in Cambridgeshire which is the first in the NHS to be run by a private firm, is to be placed in special measures after the company running it pulled out of the deal.

Circle has been running Hinchingbrook Hospital in Huntingdon for more than two years but says it's now not viable. Hospital inspectors rated the unit 'inadequate.'

Click below to watch our report from Matthew Hudson

  1. National

'From flagship to failure': Unions react to Hinchingbrooke

Unions have reacted to the announcement by operators of the country's first privately run NHS hospital that it is withdrawing its contract, calling the move a "stark warning of the dangers of NHS privatisation".

Circle - the first private healthcare operator to run an NHS hospital - is withdrawing from its contract Credit: PA

Hinchingbrooke has gone full circle, from flagship to complete failure.

This is the proof that the privatisation of the NHS is a disastrous experiment at the expense of our healthcare.

– Len McCluskey, general secretary of the Unite union

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

– Unison general secretary Dave Prentis

This shows that when the going gets tough, the private sector just cut their losses and walk away, leaving the already strained public sector to pick up their mess.

It gives me no great pleasure in saying that we warned that this would happen from the start.

The Hinchingbrooke experiment should be held up as a stark warning of the dangers of NHS privatisation.

– Steve Sweeney, regional officer of the GMB union

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Hinchingbrooke Hospital: Local MP's reaction

Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly says Circle's decision to pull out of their contract running Hinchingbrooke Hospital was a shock and a shame.

However he says unions and other critics of privatisation had used the hospital as a "political football".

Circle was the first private healthcare operator to run an NHS hospital trust. It is pulling out claiming it is "no longer sustainable" due to funding cuts and pressure on its casualty department.

Click below to watch Matthew Hudson's full interview with Jonathan Djanogly MP

Hinchingbrooke Hospital: Patient care won't be affected

The first private healthcare operator to run an NHS hospital trust is to pull out of the deal, claiming it is "no longer sustainable" due to funding cuts and pressure on its casualty department.

Hinchingbrooke Hospital Credit: PA Wire

Circle Holdings said the level of cash it had pumped in to prop up Hinchingbrooke healthcare trust in Cambridgeshire was about to reach £5 million, meaning it would have the right to terminate the franchise.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "We're disappointed Circle has made this decision.

"There will now be a managed transfer of the running of the trust and patient care will not be affected."

Circle does not have a 'sustainable future with Hinchingbrooke'

The Chief Executive of the Circle Partnership, a private company which runs Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon says its future with the NHS hospital is 'unsustainable' and that 'with great regret' it is looking to withdraw from its contract.

"After considerable thought and with great regret we have concluded that Circle’s involvement in Hinchingbrooke does not have a sustainable future in its existing form, and have entered into discussions with the Trust Development Authority with a view to withdrawing from the current contract."

– Steve Melton, Chief Executive of Circle

Circle took over the running of Hinchingbrooke in 2012 making it the only NHS hospital to be run privately in the UK.

The Chief Executive also said that times have changed since they took over the contract.

"Like most hospitals, over the past year we have seen unprecedented A&E attendances – at times up to 30% higher, year-on-year - and not enough care places for healthy patients who await discharge. Second, at the same time, our funding has been cut by approximately 10.1% this year. With these pressures on the system, to maintain the standards our patients deserve requires significant further investment, on top of the £4.84 million and considerable resources Circle have invested in the hospital to date."

– Steve Melton

Breaking News: Private company to pull out of running Hinchingbrooke Hospital

Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Huntingdon Credit: ITV News Anglia

The company behind UK's only privately run hospital in Cambridgeshire is to pull out of its contract.

'Circle' has been running Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon since early 2012.

Today the company said that 'with regret we have concluded that Circle's involvement in Hinchingbrooke does not have a sustainable future in its existing form and have entered into discussions with a view to withdrawing from the contract.'

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Two hospitals told finances 'unsustainable'

Crisis in the NHS, as two hospitals in the East are told their finances are unsustainable. Peterborough Hospital is paying a million pounds a week under its PFI agreement, while the private company running Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon has failed to make the savings it had hoped.

The MP for Peterborough, Stewart Jackson was a member of the Public Accounts committee set up to look into NHS finances. Matthew Hudson has sent this report.

MP blasts Peterborough Hospital decision

Peterborough Hospital is costing £1m a week to keep afloat Credit: PA

A decision to build a new hospital in Peterborough has been branded 'catastrophic' by a local MP.

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson, said the PFI hospital, officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, was costing taxpayers £1m a week to keep afloat.

A report by the House of Commons Public Accounts committee said decisions to build the hospital and award a franchise to a private company to run the nearby Hinchingbrooke hospital 'lacked strategic oversight.'

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