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Hinchingbrooke to be privately managed

In a landmark move, it has been announced that Cambridgeshire’s Hinchingbrooke Hospital will become the first privately managed hospital in the UK. The Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Trust has left the bidding to run the hospital, leaving three private companies, Ramsay Health Care, Circle Health and Serco, to battle it out for the contract.

Opponents have questioned the privates companies’ motives, with Tom Woodcock of opposition group Cambridgeshire Against Cuts saying:

[quote]It's a dangerous idea as the shareholder will be above patient care. The only way you can make a profit is to cut something, to lower the standard of delivery or make staff work extra hours. We are trying to reinstate the NHS as a national health service and not a patchwork of providers.[/quote]

It has been estimated that some 20 UK hospitals could follow Hinchingbrooke, which has debts of £40m, into the hands of the private sector over the next 12 months.