Live updates

  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

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.'

Cambridgeshire wedding planner jailed for fraud

A wedding planner who took money from 19 different couples has been jailed for two years. Lisa Harrison from Earith, Cambridgeshire pleading guilty to offences of fraudulent trading under section nine of the Fraud Act, 2006.

Lisa Harrison Credit: Cambridgeshire Police

The investigation, led by Huntingdonshire’s serious crime team, began with Harrison’s arrest on 18 December 2013 and concluded this week with her sentencing.

Harrison, who suffered with a gambling addiction in 2012, began taking money in the summer of 2013 and used inducements of low currency rates on US dollars and flight upgrades to secure further payments from her victims, to the sum of £80,107.35.

The 34 year-old went on a gambling spree spending £77,933 on online gambling sites including Paddy Power and William Hill, after eventually coming clean to her customers, via email, telling them that she was closing the business due to gambling away all of the money.

This was an extremely distressing case for the 19 couples who lost life savings and had their dream day ruined by Harrison.

I hope the victims received some comfort in the prison sentence imposed on Harrison, meaning they can now start to re-build their lives.

– Detective Sergeant Iain Moor


Shortage of construction materials delays road improvements

Roadworks on the A1(M) have been delays by a shortage of construction materials. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Road improvement work on a three-mile section of the A1(M) in Cambridgeshire to start a week later than scheduled because of a shortage of construction material.

The Highways Agency says the re-surfacing work on the southbound carriageway between Peterborough and Huntingdon will now start on Thursday 11 September.

The work is at Sawtry, between junction 15 and 14, near Glatton Ways and Wheatsheaf flyover, and is due to be completed in a month.

“The current surface is worn and needs replacing to ensure that users of the A1(M) in this part of Cambridgeshire can continue to enjoy safe, smooth and reliable journeys."

– Michael Freeman, Highways Agency project sponsor

Rare Fenland beetle is re-discovered

The rare Tansy beetle has been rediscovered in the Fens Credit: Stephen Falk.

A rare fenland beetle thought to be extinct in the East has been discovered at a nature reserve in Cambridgeshire.

The tansy beetle's been found at Woodwalton Fen National Nature Reserve near Huntingdon. It hasn't been seen since 1973. The site's all that remains of a huge wetland around Whittlesey Mere which was drained in 1851.

Body found in search for boy who went missing in Huntingdon

A body has been found following a search and rescue operation in Huntingdon to find a boy who went missing in the river.

It's thought he had been playing with friends in a field close to Church Lane in Hartford yesterday afternoon.

Cambridgeshire Police have confirmed the body was found in the early hours of this morning just after 02:00am. They say the death is not being treated as suspicious and will be passed onto the coroner.

Girls from St Ivo School crowned national Under 12's champions

Girls from St Ivo School in Huntingdon crowned national Under 12's champions.

Girls from St Ivo School in Huntingdon have just been crowned the national Under 12's champions after winning the final 2-0 at Bisham Abbey.

It's the first time the competition has been run. The youngsters battled through eight rounds to eventually reach the final against Grey Coat Hospital School from West London.

Load more updates