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Hinchingbrooke to return to NHS management next month

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The UK’s only privately-run NHS hospital will be handed back to the health service next month, the NHS Trust Development Authority has confirmed.

Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust, which was placed in special measures in January, is “to return to traditional NHS trust legal and governance arrangements from 1 April”, according to a report discussed the authority’s board meeting on 19 March.

Circle, the private company that currently runs the hospital, announced in January that it planned to pull out of its 10 year contract.

“Plans are in place for Hinchingbrooke to return to traditional NHS trust legal and governance arrangements and to strengthen the leadership of the trust in order to support the improvements required as part of the special measures process,” stated the board paper.

The announcement came shortly before trust was rated as “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission and subsequently placed into special measures by the TDA.

The trust was marked down by the regulator on questions of whether it is caring, safe and well led. It was the first time the CQC had rated a NHS provider inadequate on how caring it is.

Oversight of Circle’s contract was described as “poor and inadequate” with “no one…held accountable for the consequences”, in a highly critical report by the Commons public accounts committee, published earlier this week.

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