- Conservative election poster 2010
A recent news article about the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
After running up £38m deficit, hospital trust becomes target for stock market listed company
A stock market listed company is in the running to take over a failing NHS hospital in Epsom, in a move critics say is part of the government’s “privatisation agenda”.
Circle Health, with a market capitalisation of £120m, has formed a partnership with the Royal Surrey County hospital foundation trust to take over Epsom hospital. Circle, in which employees have a 49.9% stake, has already been named as the preferred bidder to take over Hinchingbrooke hospital trust in Cambridgeshire.
“We are very happy that progressive parts of the NHS are willing to work with us,” said Ali Parsa, the firm’s founder, who argued that his management could achieve “more with less”. He said that only better managers like Circle could hope to ensure the NHS finds £20bn in savings required by the government. “We have shown that we can deliver productivity improvements to the NHS of 13% a year. This is when the NHS sees productivity has fallen by 4% a year.”
The bid emerged just days after the Guardian revealed that the Department of Health had been in talks with a German company to take over NHS hospitals, the first tangible evidence that foreign multinationals will be able to run state-owned acute services, a market worth £8bn.
In 2010 there were 32 NHS trusts identified by the Department of Health as “underperforming” or “under review” – potentially open to private management.
Parsa said that Circle would “love to do a lot more. If we do not have national champions then we are going to let the Germans and the South Africans come in, in a few years’ time. We will have the Wimbledonisation of the NHS, where no British player ever wins. We need British companies to have management control, otherwise decisions are taken in foreign countries. Look at what happened with Cadbury’s. They closed down the factories. We don’t want that in the NHS.”