The Guardian

Private firm to run NHS hospital
The Guardian

A private company, listed on the stock market, has been given the right to deliver a full range of hospital services for the first time in the history of the NHS, reigniting a debate about the use of business in the health sector.

Circle Healthcare, a John Lewis-style partnership valued at around £120m, will manage the debt-laden Hinchingbrooke hospital in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, from February after the government signed off on a decade-long contract on Wednesday.

Although private sector firms already operate units within the NHS – such as hip replacement centres – Circle, one of Britain’s most prominent healthcare providers, is the first to take over an entire hospital.

Circle is viewed by ministers as a model « mutual » with 49% of its ownership in staff hands. It operates a scheme to allow more shares to be gained through a performance-related rewards system.

Significantly this allows doctors to take a slice of the profits – and this landmark deal, the government hopes, will lead to other cash-strapped NHS hospitals consider outsourcing their management to private companies.

Quand verra-t-on finalement le même genre de chose au Québec ?