21. June 2012 14:29
George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton is likely to become the second NHS hospital to undergo a private sector takeover.
The Midlands-based Foundation Trust has applied to the DH for a license to franchise its management.
The development has drawn criticism from South Warwickshire FT, which was hoping to draw the hospital into a county-wide merger.
The George Eliot’s inability to meet FT criteria on its own led it to commence seeking a partner nearly a year ago.
Interest was confirmed from three FTs (South Warwickshire, Burton Hospitals and Dudley Group) and three private healthcare firms (Circle, Serco and Care UK).
Plans for an NHS merger with South Warwickshire FT, forming a new Warwickshire FT, enjoyed support from hospital staff and patients.
The George Eliot Hospital Trust has said it will consider franchise bids from both NHS and private sector providers.
However, South Warwickshire FT has said it will not compete under the terms of a franchise. Chief Executive Glen Burley commented: “Running a hospital is not like running McDonald’s.”
Circle, which took over Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire in February, is considered the front runner for the George Eliot contract.