Now this is a surprise, isn\’t it?

Circle Holdings became the only private company running an NHS hospital last year when it began a 10 year contract to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Cambridgeshire.

But new NHS figures show it is now ranked as one of the highest for patient happiness and has also recorded shorter waiting times.

Circle Holdings, whose operating subsidiary is 49.9pc owned by a staff partnership, has also dramatically cut losses at the hospital by 60 per cent and will soon begin to pay off burgeoning debts racked up from years of mismanagement.

Just astonishing.

According to new figures, patient satisfaction has risen to 85 per cent, placing Hinchingbrooke in the top six of the East of England’s 46 hospitals. It was previously recorded one of the lowest rankings.

When Circle started managing the hospital, it also consistently ranked near the bottom of the 46 trusts for waiting times, with many patients forced to endure more than four hours in A&E.

It now tops the list for short waiting times, seeing 98.2 per cent of patients within the required window, according to the newspaper.

Cancer testing has also increased while millions of pounds has been saved from cutting paperwork.

Really, what can have happened? It\’s almost as though who say that incentives matter are correct. And if that\’s true then where does that leave the NHS, that wonder of the world?

11 thoughts on “Now this is a surprise, isn\’t it?”

  1. “Government overfunds first example of its political pet scheme to ensure that results are good” is definitely not a thing which ever happens under any government of any ideology, is it?

    It certainly didn’t happen when foundation hospitals were brought in under Major, or when academies were brought in under Blair… oh.

  2. OTOH, John b, I rate DHL and FedEx very highly. The Royal Mail and the Post Office are vile and useless. To provide just one comparison.

  3. Yeah, 4 cheers for all that private sector je-ne-sais-quoi.

    Except that the people running Circle’s hospital are ex-NHS.

    What can the difference be ?

    The dead hand of government and its sock puppet the Dept of Dheath.

  4. The managers at Hinchingbrooke might be ex-NHS but when they have a personal stake in the success of their own hospital then they will most definitely make different decisions to ones when there is no come back for making a bad decision or just sitting on their arses doing nothing.

  5. Of course Dr Eoin will be celebrating this wonderful turn-around.

    Hmm, odd; can’t seem to find anything on it.

  6. @ lift the bonnet

    The people may not have changed, but their level of autonomy and their incentives have.

    provided there are no hidden extras to help this thing along, then I really hope this will lead to a new model of government paid, but privately run hospitals.

    If they also let people set up new hospitals easily then this could really drive down costs and drive up quality in the NHS, win win all round.

    Now off to do some digging on this new venture.

  7. The history is filled with stories of competent people with a record of accomplishment who entered government service, produced lackluster or outright incompetent results, then rotated back to private enterprise and became productive again.

    I think the most likely reason is the sheer weight of government inertia – its bureaucracy and red-tape, and the consequent difficulty of taking reasonable decisions, or taking them in time to matter.

    I also think it’s not likely to change.

  8. Hehe. I’m impressed by the about-turn in terms of believing-the-data among people who normally think governments lie their arses off to support their ideology, and that bureaucrats local or national are all incompetent fucks who should be hanged.

    Edward Lud: that highlights my point. The Post Office has been systematically buggered by the last two governments, because they’re both seeking to privatise it (also, I’d rate DHL as only slightly better than the RM, FedEx substantially better, and all the local private courier firms that cheapskate online companies tend to use as a thousand times worse).

    Tim adds: John, no, it’s not the last two UK Govts which have buggered RM. It’s the EU and the State Aid rules. Because there are private sector companies who do this delivery stuff, therefore the RM cannot be subsidised. And as the RM model depends upon subsidy/exclusion of private sector competition from some areas of the market, the RM is buggered by the EU rules.

    This is entirely agnostic as to whether RM should be “saved” etc. But the above is the reason for the problems.

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