LONDON, November 25, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Circle, the employee-owned social enterprise, has today been chosen as the preferred partner to run Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust in Huntingdonshire.

In a historic move, the East of England Strategic Health Authority (SHA) has selected a non-state owned provider to take over the delivery of NHS services at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

Circle have a unique partnership model, where everyone from the consultants to the cleaners are co-owners in the business, as well as their track record in turning round NHS services by empowering front-line employees.

Employing over 1,000 seconded NHS staff and treating more than 130,000 patients each year, Circle's NHS day-surgery hospitals in Nottingham and Burton delivered over 20% productivity gains in their first year of Circle operation, at the same time as improving patient outcomes to four times better than the national benchmark, patient satisfaction to 99.4% and staff satisfaction to 91%.

Dr Stephen Dunn, Director of Strategy at NHS East of England, said: "Circle's John Lewis style partnership model and track record of turning around NHS services make them our preferred partner to transform the first NHS Trust to be franchised. We are impressed by the way Circle devolves decision-making to those closest to patients, and empower doctors, nurses and all staff to innovate to deliver better care for their patients."

"In Circle, we have selected a cutting edge partner with an innovative approach to propel Hinchingbrooke into the premier league. This has to be a model for hospitals that face similar challenges nationally."

Ali Parsa, Circle's Managing Partner, said: "Circle's co-operative model offers a Big Society solution for Hinchingbrooke - liberating doctors and nurses to deliver the best services for the patients they know best. This is a great opportunity for a social enterprise and local clinicians to come together to lead the next chapter in the long and successful history of the NHS. Through this unique partnership, we will continue to provide high-quality NHS services that are free at the point of use for the people of Huntingdon. We'd like to thank the Strategic Health Authority and Department of Health for their willingness to think outside the box to secure the highest quality services for patients in Huntingdon."

Notes to Editors:

1. The announcement of Circle as preferred bidder concludes a 17-month long process to find the right franchise partner. Circle will work through the franchise contractual details with the East of England Strategic Health Authority over the next few months and take over the day-to-day running of the trust in June 2011.

2. Circle will keep and operate Hinchingbrooke as an independent NHS trust, providing patients with local, high-quality NHS services, free at the point of use.

3. Circle is an employee-owned social enterprise that forms the largest partnership of clinicians in Europe - over 2,000. Circle is co-owned and managed by the doctors, nurses and all staff who work in Circle's hospitals, treatment centres and clinics.

4. Circle has significant experience of transforming existing NHS services from their Nottingham and Midlands NHS day surgery hospitals, where Circle treats over130,000 NHS patients per annum and delivered over 20% productivity improvements during its first year of operation.

5. Circle built and runs a hospital in Bath - CircleBath - where it treats private and NHS patients. CircleBath opened in March 2010 is a 6,500 square metre hospital with 4 operating theatres, 30 private, en-suite in-patient bedrooms and 18 day-surgery beds.

6. Additionally Circle also owns and runs two surgical clinics in Windsor and Stratford.

7. Circle plans to build up to 30 hospitals across the UK over the coming years.

For further information please contact Christina Lineen or Katherine Gershon at Circle on +44(0)207-034-5250.

SOURCE: Circle

CONTACT: For further information please contact Christina Lineen orKatherine Gershon at Circle on +44(0)207-034-5250.