Change is often challenged, especially when it comes to the public sector, but change in anything as big as NHS Hinchingbrooke Hospital was something most figured would prove to be the end of the hospital as they knew it; after all Hinchingbrooke was already so far in debt that they were already in despair. When Circle took over, then Secretary of State Andy Burnham was opposed and made it quite clear that he didn’t agree with the change. It has surprised many that the failing Hinchingbrooke Hospital is quickly becoming an NHS Hospital that will quite possibly show a profit by the end of the year.
Six Months To Go From Failure To Success
In a matter of 6 months Circle took an NHS Hospital and brought it from £40 million in debt to a promising, success story. The company hopes to balance the books within the next two to three years at most. With a lot of rearranging of positions, placing people where they would serve better and more efficiently, and running ordering processes much like they would in a standard private company they saw the books moving in the right direction. Add on to the fact that they made what others would think to be a tiny, minuscule change that wouldn’t amount to much but ahhh… not so. They changed and streamlined office supplies alone to save close to £2 million; yes you read that right, £2 million saved from changing where and how they ordered something as simple as paper.
Doctors and nurses have been given a whole new view of things. Before they had been led by others instead of being allowed to make their own decisions based on the knowledge they have and the expertise they could provide. Now, the doctors and nurses are being taught Circle’s private sector management skills and handling their own matters. Circle has involved the actual employees in implementations and inspiring them to make the right choices by the mere and simple fact that now these employees own 50% of the hospital. They’re inspired to make this hospital not only stay afloat but soar high above others and for the first time in a very long time make a profit; because they are now part owners and they have a stake in the business.
Stopped Wasting Money and Empowered Staff
Basically Circle has turned the NHS Hinchingbrooke Hospital into an operation that represents the private sector; run like a real business. The end result is seeing Hinchingbrooke Hospital raise high in the standings as one of the top notch A&E departments in the East of England and Midlands. For the first time ever Circle has excelled in one area that the private sectors rarely survive; in the accident and emergency departments. They are now number one in the country. None of these numbers would have been even remotely obtainable if they had remained an NHS Hospital.
Within six months the hospital has improved waiting times, delivers excelling services that are rated above many of their NHS competitors, and created a savings that have astounded even the biggest of naysayers. The only problem is that the morale of some of the employees has disintegrated a bit out of fear that Circle is training doctors and nurses to do the jobs that other employees used to do. Also, placing many positions in jeopardy of being outsourced, workers are afraid that cost cuts are going to start coming down to cutting their jobs. Jobs such as cleaning staff could soon be gone and outsourcing the work could begin in order to cut costs even further. Nothing comes without a price to pay and this is one situation where people are starting to see the truth in that statement.
Paving The Way For More Private Investment?
While Hinchingbrooke Hospital now is one of the highest ranking hospitals around, nobody can argue that Circle has not been the entire reason for this change. While most NHS hospitals are seeing unhappy customers/patients and exceedingly larger debt; Hinchingbrooke is seeing just the opposite. Only time will tell how incredibly successful or unsuccessful they will be. If their past record is any indication, Circle may be laying the footwork for other private companies to take over NHS hospitals and run them like real-time private companies. If this happens there’s no telling what the end result will be in our world of NHS hospitals and their future.
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