MPs launch inquiry into Hinchingbrooke Hospital

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The Parliamentary Public Accounts committee will question key witnesses following Circle's decision to withdraw from the contract for Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

On 9 January 2015 Circle announced that they were looking to withdraw from the contract, shortly after their statement a report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found care at the hospital was below standard was issued.

Hinchingbrooke was the first NHS hospital to be run by a private sector provider. 

The first meeting of the inquiry will be on Monday 2 February 2015 and witnesses called include Steve Melton the chief executive officer of Circle Holdings and David Behan, chief executive of the CQC.

Topics for questioning will include the causes and consequences of the termination of the contract, safeguarding of patients and the financial sustainability of services at the hospital.

A report by the committee in 2013 expressed concerns that: "Circle's bid was not properly risk assessed and that Circle was encouraged to submit overly optimistic and unachievable savings projections.

"While some financial and demand risk has been transferred to Circle, the NHS can never transfer the operational risk of running a hospital leaving the taxpayer exposed should the franchise fail."

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