Private health firm loses NHS treatment centre contract
A private health firm has lost one of the biggest and longest-running contracts to treat NHS patients, in a significant blow to the creeping privatisation of care.
Circle is losing the contract it has held for 11 years to run the Nottingham NHS Treatment Centre, which provides 240,000 operations and checkups a year. Nottingham University Hospitals NHS trust (NUH) has been handed a £320m contract to run the centre for the next five years after a bitter legal battle between Circle and the NHS.
Circle has run the centre since it opened in 2008 as one of the independent treatment centres (ISTCs) that the last Labour government set up to reduce the number of NHS patients waiting for non-urgent treatment.
Labour was accused of privatising part of the NHS because Circle was among a number of private companies that were put in charge of ISTCs and allowed to make a profit from them. Other firms, notably Care UK and Ramsay Health Care, still run centres elsewhere in England.