Depends what your definition of success is really

You know who. A comment to him:

Maybe you should have a closer look at Hinchinbrooke Hospital before dismissing private intervention.

You know who’s response:

I have looked at it

It is a complete failure

Circle are losing £15 million a year running it

You call that a success?

Depends what measurement you want to use for success really. For patients and taxpayers that’s a great success. The patients are getting £15 million a year more of medical care than the taxpayers are paying for. Sounds like a success to me.

24 thoughts on “Depends what your definition of success is really”

  1. £15M loss = market failure
    £15M profit = market failure

    Both are total proof that neoliberals should not be trusted with anything, if I recall correctly.

  2. Surely that number is only relevant in context anyway – I mean if the NHS had previously been losing £25million p.a.(I’ve no idea what the numbers were, but the fact the hospital went bust suggests they weren’t good) into the same black hole, that would imply to me two separate items of good news – firstly the situation was £10million better than before, and secondly we had found some nice people willing to donate £15 million a year to us, at least for the moment…

    Anyway, surely this means that since (like Amazon) they don’t make a profit, and since there are (again like Amazon) large amounts of turnover, doesn’t that mean they are in some way avoiding taxes?

  3. This ‘complete failure’ which was voted best hospital & their latest polling shows 96% of patients would recommend etc etc.

    This just shows that Ritchie & his ilk couldn’t actually care less about outputs (patient care) but only about inputs (who runs it)

  4. And to what extent is the £15 million loss down to state meddling?. Even as a privately run place the main source of income will be the NHS payments for patient care. What is going on there?.
    It is quite possible that the loss is much less than under prev NHS control and is a sign the place is on its way back to health–no pun intended.
    From the hospital website:
    “In February 2012, Hinchingbrooke Hospital became the first NHS Trust to be operated by a private partner, Circle. Although we work closely with our partners at Circle to plan and make improvements to our services, we are still an NHS hospital, delivering NHS services and our staff, buildings and assets remain in the NHS”
    Also says that CHKS healthcare consultancy has awarded it “Best hospital in England for quality of healthcare” –altho’ that may not be saying much.

  5. bloke (not) in spain

    So it’s been open for 18months.
    Different universe & after 18 months Circle showing (any) profit.

    “Privater sector already pillaging the sick for evil gain.”

  6. I would expect Circle to have a plan to get a profit. Initial changes will probably cost most?
    By the sound of it the only thing that matters, the only thing – patient care – has improved considerably.
    I’d be lobbying to have them run other hospitals!

  7. I’m surprised that you all believe Murphy.

    Circle is losing £15m a year across all its operations. Its reported losses at Hinchingbrooke for the last financial year were less than £1m.

    Under the terms of the Hinchingbrooke deal, Circle is obliged to cover deficits up to £5m, after which either party has the option to terminate the agreement.

  8. In Ritchieland, is it a failure for an NHS hospital to make a loss?

    Is it a failure for an NHS hospital to make a surplus?

  9. Murphaloon is being dishonest. As per etc.

    His £15 million a year is (I think) year 2 of a recovery plan which he is treating as a steady state.

    Things change. Stupidity doesn’t.

    Perhaps he takes too much Temazepam every morning to generate wish-dreams.

  10. PaulB demonstrates that (i) the term “honest left-winger” is not an oxymoron (or restricted to Tom Finney) and (ii) it does not apply to Murphy

  11. everything belongs to the state (according to the Murphmonster) but when I suggested the state should take loads off him and redistribute it he deleted my post.

    Some might think “what a hypocritical twat” but I couldn’t possibly comment.

  12. @Andrew,

    You’re an amateur 🙂 (and yes, he is a hypocritical twat)

    Noel Scoper says:
    May 30 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Richard, Tax Research UK is quite successful financially and you are proud of your non-extravagant living. Such a sum must be easily achievable for you. You should get spending as per your own advice! Or get TRUK employing some people.

    Richard Murphy says:
    May 30 2014 at 1:58 pm

    I’m 56

    If I don’t save now I never will

  13. Thank you John. I tried commenting about this on Murphy’s blog, but he has divined Circle’s secret business plan:
    Phase 1) somehow feed £15m a year into NHS funds for Hinchingbrooke, while fraudulently reporting it to investors as being losses on Circle hospitals in Reading and Bath
    Phase 2) ?
    Phase 3) Profit

  14. This ‘complete failure’ which was voted best hospital

    …by healthcare firm CHKS, themselves owned by Serco, joint-partner with Circle in bidding for NHS contracts. The “award” itself is pretty meaningless in terms of the actual provision of acute care. It was reported in entirely disproportionate fashion by Daily Failograph journos, with editorials that were a straight re-hash of Circle PR bollox.

    “All in the game”, as Omar would say – the game being the carve-up of the NHS.

  15. lost_nurse seems to think that we shall all imagine that every NHS hospital is so scared of Serco that none of them will protest at Hinchinbrooke getting a totally unjustified award.
    Pull the other leg it has bells on!*
    For Hinchinbrooke to have been conceivably considered for any award, the improvement under Circle must have been dramatic.
    *If I periodically complain because someone got a race result wrong (on two occasions last season because they were doing down one of my opponents), why should anyone expect a NHS hospital PR team not to protest at being deprived of an award?

  16. Ritchie’s attitude to health provision and patient care is summed up by his reply to a commenter:

    “If your waiting list was 10 months the treatment was not urgent”

    Out of interest, are there any procedures with a 10 month waiting list in France, Gerrmany, Holland etc?

    NHS, it’s the wonder of the world.

  17. Here‘s an independent international comparison. The UK ranks 3rd (page 21) for “Timeliness of Care”, behind Switzerland and Holland, but ahead of Germany and well ahead of France.

  18. Pull the other leg it has bells on!

    @john77 – the point being: said “award” was reported in an entirely misleading manner… & that reportage was then repeated by a whole bunch of people who don’t seem to have the first clue about acute care. This very blog being a good example.

  19. @ lost_nurse
    That may be *your* point, which you have made more than once before BUT my point is *more* relevant to the question as to whether Murphy should dismiss Circle as an example of successful private sector intervention. There has been a quantum change for the better in patient outcomes (and Circle’s private sector owners have picked up the tab for the losses so more money is available to spend elsewhere in the NHS0.

  20. Circle’s private sector owners have picked up the tab for the losses

    Quite correct – they are running it as a loss-leader. I mean, it’s almost as if there’s some kind of long-term strategy involved… perhaps you could ask Ali Parsa about it, although he might be a bit touchy on the subject. As for “quantum change” – oh, really? Across what kind of casemix?

    News just in: “willing providers” run NHS services as loss-leading stalking-horses, ursines defecate in wooded areas, Catholic eminence wears strange headgear.

  21. Circle’s strategy for Hinchingbrooke is not secret: its bid included profit projections over the ten years of the contract which predicted that it would lose money in the first year and become increasingly profitable after that. Things haven’t turned out as well as the bid envisaged, but then it’s hardly surprising that Circle presented a rosy picture to the Health Authority, which gets to a share of the profits if they’re large enough. Circle continues to predict that the hospital will become profitable and it will make money “Based on future forecast cash flow projections, management consider that the £4.1 million [which it’s put in to cover the deficit so far] is recoverable.”

    As things have gone, the losses are not far from the £5m level at which both sides have the option to pull out. I am sceptical that savings on the scale envisaged by the bid are achievable (and so is the NAO), so other things being equal I doubt that Circle could ever make a profit without running down the quality of care, which, to its credit, it shows no sign of doing. However, other things are not equal – Health Authority managers have a strong interest in the success of the franchise deal. The NAO report notes that Circle bears “demand risk” – “there are no guarantees over future activity levels”. I predict that that risk will work out very well for Circle, as the Health Authority steers profitable business to Hinchingbrooke.

    So the financial success of the franchise will tell us very little. However, Circle will be doing everything it can to manage the hospital efficiently, and it may well have some good ideas which the NHS can learn from – diversity of management structure is a healthy thing. But what we shouldn’t do is to suppose that any success Circle achieves in the most favourable possible circumstances – the best team from the best bid with the strongest possible following wind – would be generally reproducible in the case of widespread management franchising.

    Incidentally, Ali Parsa left Circle a year ago.

  22. PS – For a hospital which has undergone a “quantum change” (besides, supposedly, being “the best in the country”), the online feedback at makes, um, interesting reading.

    Plenty of cheer in the reviews of routine elective surgery, OP X-ray appointments etc, but feedback about elderly care/general medicine settings certainly doesn’t reflect the PR shite that gets repeated, ad nauseum, in the Daily Failograph.

    Online tripadvisor, friends&family test, etc type stuff can be a somewhat crude measure of the actual quality of acute care… but given all the gushing about Circle, I’d expect their online feedback to be fcuking gleaming. In fact, it reflects much of what I hear on the grapevine: with demoralised nurses & short-staffed wards being pretty far from the cosy employee co-op image that Circle do so love to promote… Hinchingbrooke is a poster-child for the current reforms, and has already enjoyed DoH indulgence (on the franchise terms) – to that extent, it cannot be allowed to fail (quite aside from the long-term ambitions of its backers/investors). But cracks are cracks – and Circle aren’t even dealing with anything like the pressures & casemix faced by, say, a major city hospital. Indeed, they seem to off-load the tricky stuff to Addenbrookes.

  23. Incidentally, Ali Parsa left Circle a year ago.

    Yes, I know – hence my comment that “he might be a bit touchy”. For somebody who made all kind of big talk about being in it for the long run, he apparently wasn’t.

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