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Squaring the Circle: What lessons can be learned from the Hinchingbrooke franchise fiasco?
journal contributionposted on 2023-07-26, 14:59 authored by Peter Scourfield
In 2012 the first ever operating franchise was awarded to a private provider to run an NHS district general hospital – Hinchingbrooke in Cambridgeshire, UK. Less than three years into what was supposed to be a ten-year deal, the franchisee, Circle, announced its withdrawal from the contract, raising concerns about the process of risk assessing and monitoring the franchise arrangements. This commentary begins by telling the story of the decision to award Circle the Hinchingbrooke franchise. It sets out the context in which the franchise was awarded and outlines the stated reasons why it failed. The failure of the Circle franchise is used to question the ‘logic’ of the neo-liberal approach to public service reform. The Circle case illustrates how market mechanisms and privatisation are likely to create as many problems as they are supposed to solve.
Publication titleCritical Social Policy