Circle claims it has both improved services and cut costs, six months into its ten-year contract to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire.
The private health company has pointed to improved performance in the NHS hospital’s A&E and colorectal departments, as well as £1.1m cost savings.
It attributes these successes to its ‘partnership’ strategy of appointing NHS clinicians to key leadership roles.
When Circle took over Hinchingbrooke it agreed to take on the hospital’s £40m debt and, in return, to take the first £2m profit, 25% of the next £4m and 33% of the next £4m.
In six months, the company said, Hinchingbrooke’s A&E department has become the highest-performing full service trust in the region and has topped a patient recommendation poll.
In addition, “major failings’ in colorectal services have been addressed, and the speed and quality rating of its incident investigation system have improved.
The company hopes to make the hospital profitable within two years.
Ali Parsa, Circle’s Chief Executive, said: “Through Circle’s entrepreneurial drive, operating model of transferring power to the staff closest to patients and methodology of deploying leading experts from our partnership to coach staff on this journey, we have already seen big improvements across the hospital.”
The company “would love” to extend the same management model to other hospitals across the UK, he asserted.
“It’s right that Hinchingbrooke celebrates these very, very early successes,” commented Karen Jennings, Assistant General Secretary of Unison.
However, she noted “early signs of concern” over the way that Circle had cut staffing levels by outsourcing the hospital’s cleaning services, and the prospect of further redundancies.