Worry Over Hinchingbrooke Future

Unison have said plans to hand over the management of Hinchingbrooke Hospital to a private firm is "a dangerous experiment".

The hospital has debts of around ¬£40m, and at the end of last year, NHS East of England asked for bids from NHS authorities and private firms to become it's new management.

However last week, the Cambridge University Hospitals Trust withdrew its bid, leaving only private firms in the running.  The NHS East of England say that some NHS authorities are still involved in the process though, but not now as lead bidders.

Phil Green, Unison's regional spokesperson said: "This is a dangerous experiment.  This is the only place where this is being attempted and it's about bringing the private sector into the NHS, who at the end of the day are only in it for profit and not for patient care.

"The hospital has a new management team in and they are turning things around.  It's defecit is nowhere near as big as some other hospitals."

But the health authority's Director of Strategy Stephen Dunn dismissed any suggestion of privatisation: "Assets and staff will remain in the NHS.  We are going to ensure that we get a new management team in to run Hinchingbrooke, but this is not about privatisation, that is just scare-mongering.

"This is a competition to provide NHS services at NHS prices with NHS terms and conditions within an NHS regulated context.  They will have to abide by every standard that every other NHS organisation has to meet."

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