Hunts DC vote not to support the Hinchingbrooke hospital takeover!

We are delighted to report that your local councillors voted against this proposal and wrote the attached letter to the Chairman of Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust, Alan Burns.

Letter to Mr Burns HDC-response-to-the-merger-proposal

And here are details of the discussion that preceded this:




Members were informed that following the consideration of Full Business Case for the merger of the Trusts running Hinchingbrooke and Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals by the Cabinet at its meeting on 20th October 2016, the Panel had been asked to convene a Task and Finish Group to undertake a critical analysis of the Full Business Case, in order to formulate a proposal to the Cabinet as to whether the Council should support the Merger and its suggested response.

The Chairman proposed, and the Panel agreed, that a Task and Finish Group would not be convened and that Members would draw conclusions and send a draft letter to the Chairman of the Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust. The Chairman added that the Panel had three options: support the merger (either fully or reluctantly), do not support the merger or do not support the merger but register no objections.

The Chairman opened the debate by stating that following the special meeting on 12th October 2016, he could not support the merger but he could not object to it either as there is no other plan on the table.

One Member suggested that the Council should reject the merger as the Trusts do not have an alternative in the scenario that the merger fails. In addition, the Chief Executive of Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust, Lance McCarthy, did not commit to the preservation of services at the Hinchingbrooke site.

A Member stated that they believe the Panel should not be dealing with the issue as a Council response should come from the Cabinet and signed by the Executive Leader of the Council. The Executive Councillor for Environment, Street Scene and Operations responded that the Cabinet believes that the Panel should take ownership of the issue as they had heard from Lance McCarthy twice and had received the evidence to make a judgement.

 The point was raised that Members were informed that the merger is to overcome financial difficulties as well as making the Trust a more attractive proposition for consultants when recruiting. It was suggested that senior staff could be appointed through a staff sharing arrangement and the contract written in a way that would guarantee the consultant hours at Hinchingbrooke. In regards to the finances the income from health campus would go to the merged Trust and Hinchingbrooke would not fully benefit from the income.

 The Panel noted that the merged Trust’s Council of Governors would have a ‘greater influence’ from the north of the area. The Panel were uncomfortable with the idea that the interests of Hinchingbrooke could be overlooked as there is a potential for the north to ‘outvote’ Huntingdonshire. Members fear that this would affect all residents but particularly those who depend on Hinchingbrooke.

A Member suggested that the Panel should not make decisions on the clinical sustainability of Hinchingbrooke but focus on the governance arrangements. The Member added that the Council shouldn’t support the acquisition without the governance of Hinchingbrooke being protected. The Panel,


1)      that the acquisition cannot be supported by Huntingdonshire District Council due to the absence of sufficient balance in the governance arrangements in protecting the interests of the residents of Huntingdonshire, and

2)      that a letter is written to the Chairman of Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust, Alan Burns, explaining why the Council cannot support the acquisition and explain other concerns expressed by the Panel.


Statement from Hands Off Hinchingbrooke

HOH Banner-1

Hands Off Hinchingbrooke Press Release

Campaigners brand takeover plans as dangerous and short sighted

Embargo: Immediate

The local community campaign group Hands Off Hinchingbrooke has branded both trust boards dangerous and short sighted after takeover plans of Hinchingbrooke Hospital are set to go ahead.

Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Foundation NHS Trust unanimously voted in favour of the take over of Hinchingbrooke hospital on Tuesday 27th September 2016. Today (Thursday 29th September) the trust board at Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust also voted in favour of the takeover which is set to happen from April 1, 2017.

The plans which could see services such as Accident & Emergency, Urgent Care, Haematology and Maternity downgraded or closed as the result of a non-resident board taking decisions which will not affect their lives or the lives of their loved ones. Both boards are not thinking about patient safety and the plans are ill-thought.

Speaking after the Hinchingbrooke Hospital board meeting, Secretary of Hands Off Hinchingbrooke, Daniel Laycock said “Both boards have prepared an ill-thought plan, this takeover will endeavour to downgrade or close services and even quite possibly close the hospital all together.

Within the Full Business Case both boards have branded Hinchingbrooke Hospital as an ambitious organisation with no chance of succeeding with the financial plan and have praised Peterborough Hospital as a potential hospital to do great things.

Both boards have also stated that they will save £9m from back office and corporate but from 12 mergers that have taken place across the country during the last 5 years this has been inaccurate and shows incompetency. This would suggest that there is no evidence to support their claim that a takeover would be beneficial for everyone.

Both trust boards haven’t taken into consideration setting-up of an “Integrated Healthcare System for Huntingdonshire (”Primary Care, Secondary (Hospita) and Older Peoples Care) as suggested by The Kings Fund Report (Foundation Trust and NHS Trust Mergers Report). This report recommends, “placed based systems of care, with the emphasis on collaboration across organisational and service boundaries to meet the needs of a defined population (such as Huntingdonshire) so as to ensure financial and clinical sustainability.

We are calling for Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridgeshire Couny Council to start a Judical Review into the takeover of Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust by Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

We are urging resident’s from Huntingdonshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire to stand against the takeover so that services across all three sites are not downgraded or lost entirely and campaign with us on the streets, meetings across all three counties to fight for our NHS. The NHS is facing unprecedented attacks by means of mergers plus the Sustainability and Transformation Plan which the merger is being forced through by NHS Improvement. These are very difficult and challenging times but we must stand together as a community so that vital services such as A&E, maternity, children services or other departments that could be centralised, are not downgraded or lost altogether. This is happening up and down the country, we as a society and community from different backgrounds, countries, race, religions, beliefs, stand united in our fight to ensure that our hospital will be publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable to all who use the world’s greatest health service.”


Hands off Hinchingbrooke Wants to hear from you

Hands off Hinchingbrooke wants to speak to staff from Hinchingbrooke, Peterborough or Stamford hospitals on the proposed take over of Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust by Peterborough and Stamford NHS Foundation Trust. We want to hear from any from porters to Consultants on what they think about the take over as to what they have been consulted , whether it be supportive, aginast the proposed merger, or if you have resigned from your position or you have been forced from your position due to the take over. Even if you are worried or generally unhappy, we would like to hear from you.

You can contact us by email us at [email protected] or by our contact form below.

You infomration will be kept strictly confidential and will not be passed to anyone or third party.

Full Business Case Published


The Full Business Case for the take over of Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS trust by Peterborough and Stamford NHS Foundation Trust has today been released. The FBC will hightlight the future of the new Trust under proposals made by both trust boards back in April 2016 which will be completed by April 2017. The new trust which is yet to be named will cover resident’s care across Huntingdonshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire with all three areas having upto 700,000 plus patients for care to be proivded.

In a joint statement, the two chief executives of the hospital Trusts, Lance McCarthy of Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust, and Stephen Graves, of Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Full Business Case addresses the issues raised by members of the public who have been attending our engagement sessions held between July and mid-September. One of their main concerns were about patients having to travel further to access care.

“We can assure patients that the Full Business Case focuses upon us jointly  delivering care that’s better, safer and local. There are no plans to change the location of any service, including A&E and maternity, which has been a concern of patients in Huntingdonshire in particular.

“We are also hoping that residents in Huntingdonshire will take advantage of the fact they can become members of the merged Foundation Trust, and as a result, play a greater part in the running of their local hospital. This can include standing for election to the Council of Governors, which will ensure local voices will be heard.”

Hands Off Hinchingbrooke team will be looking over the FBC over the coming days and will give a full detail outline on what measures will be put in place by both hospitals in the coming weeks.

The Full Business Case will be discussed by the boards of both Trusts in the following two meetings to be held in public:

  • Tuesday 27 September 2016 – Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust board will meet at 1.30pm in the Board Room at Peterborough City Hospital, Level 4 Core A.
  • Thursday 29 September 2016 – Hinchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust board will meet at 11am in the Partnership Suite at Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

Members of the public are able to attend both meetings. A series of additional staff engagement sessions are being held at both Trusts, starting on Friday 23 September.

In addition, the Trusts will be staging a further six public engagement events in October to hear feedback on the Full Business Case from members of the public. The meetings take place at:

  • Hinchingbrooke Hospital’s Partnership Suite on Monday 3 October at 5.45pm
  • Stamford Hospital Meeting Hall on Thursday 6 October at 5.45pm
  • Deepings Community Centre, Market Deeping, on Monday 10 October at 7pm
  • Peterborough City Hospital, Learning Centre, on Tuesday 11 October at 5.45pm
  • St Ives Corn Exchange on Thursday 13 October at 2pm
  • Bourne Corn Exchange on Thursday 20 October at 4.30pm

Full Business Case pdf

Merger being pushed by Monitor


In March it was reported in the Health Service Journel that Monitor, the NHS Improvement organisation, which is responsible for overseeing NHS Foundation and trusts and holding providers to account and where necessary intervening, is pushing hard for the merger between Hinchingbrooke Hospital NHS Trust and Peterborough and Stamford NHS Foundation Trust.

The “merger” between both hospitals is set to be completed by 1 April, 2017, but Hands Off Hinchingbrooke has grave concerns for the potential merger, and not just the timeframe in which the merger would be implemented from.

As the merger is being rushed this could have acrimonious consequences not just for Hinchingbrooke Hospital but also Peterborough Hospital. The HSJ also reported that a senior source which is familiar to negotiations claimed Monitor desperately wants the trusts to merge “as soon as possible”.

Plans for the merger have been on the table since March 2016 and both boards have pressed ahead, even though there has been opposition from Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly and Hands Off Hinchingbrooke as it could see services lost.

Hinchingbrooke has always been questioned on the viability of the hospital as it sits within a small catchment area – where as, Peterborough has had large amount of debts due to the Private Finance Inicitive deal which lead to the new hospital being built in Peterborough.

Let’s not forget though, the NHS hasn’t had a great number of mergers over the years. Their has been mergers where everyone buys into it and these have been very successful, but as the merger between both hospitals is being rushed through by Monitor, it could have disastrous consequences.

The source also told HSJ “If the trusts looked to merger at a slower pace, say over two to three years, they could then ensure thinks like all the back office and IT systems were integrated properly, and it could be done in a way that protect patient.”

From that claim, it begs the question that we have been asking ourselves, they’re not protecting patients.

In January plans had been announced in a joint statement by both CEO’s that both hospitals have started work by a Memorandum of Understanding, which only came to the public domain after Huntingdon MP, Jonathan Djanogly forced both boards to release the MoU.

Another question then arises. Why keep the MoU secret from the public? What are they hiding? Where there deals going on behind closed doors?

Daniel Laycock, Secretary for Hands off Hinchingbrooke asked Lance McCarthy at the Special Meeting, Overview and Scrutiny (Communities and Environment) on Tuesday 28th June in Huntingdon, “Why was the MoU kept from the public domain, until Jonathan Djanogly forced you to release it into the public domain”  but Mr McCarthy only replied that there was a MoU in the public domain.

Accusations had followed from Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly, that key services such as accident and emergency would be lost at the district general hospital as Peterborough is palling to take over Hinchingbrooke.

Hinchingbrooke chair Alan Burns, told HSJ in January that he was “relatively agnostic” about “merging” with Peterborough, providing that business case stacked up on “clinical ground and benefits to patients” as well as financial ground.

Monitor nor the trust responded directly to questions asked by HSJ that the regulator was pushing for Hinchingbroooke and Peterborough hospitals to merge.

A Monitor spokesperson claimed to HSJ back in March: ” We are aware that Peterborough and Hinchingbrooke hospitals are exploring options for increased collaboration between their organisations for the benefits of patient.

“We want people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to receive quality care on a sustainable basis, and stand ready to support all providers in the area to make this happen”

Damning Indicment

Update: 29th July 2016

Cambs and Pboro CCG logo

John Lister has compiled report on the collapse of the Older Peoples and Adults Community contract on behalf of Keep Our NHS Public and in the report he states, “the underlying cause of this collapse was Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Act 2012 that opened the door to the privatisation and marketization of the NHS. The contract failure and the debts that have ensued have serious implications for Cambridgeshire’s health services. The prospect is one of continuing cuts and search from ‘savings’ to remedy a vast financial black hole that has been opened up by six years of austerity- driven funding, a costly market system, the failure of this contract, and several more years of virtual cash freeze to come.”

OPACS Report

July 14th 2016

The report released by the National Audit Office (NAO) on Thursday 14th July into the collapse of the contract for older people’s health services in Cambridgeshire is a damning indictment of the Tory government’s drive to privatise our NHS.

In April last year provision of older people’s and adult community health services in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough was taken over by Uniting Care Partnership (UCP), a joint body set up by two local NHS Trusts, Cambridge University Hospitals and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust. This followed a lengthy and very expensive tendering exercise by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which could have resulted in the contract – worth close to a billion pounds over five years – being awarded to a private company. However, after just eight months the contract with UCP collapsed after the CCG refused to meet demands for extra funding to continue with it.

The NAO, an official government body, has delivered this verdict on the situation: “This contract was innovative and ambitious but ultimately an unsuccessful venture, which failed for financial reasons which could, and should, have been foreseen. It had the strong potential to join together all bodies in the local health economy and to deliver better patient care. However, limited oversight and a lack of commercial expertise led to problems that quickly became insurmountable.”

The report says that around £25,000,000 has been wasted as a result of this fiasco – money which clearly the local health economy desperately needs. It also says that lessons have not been learned from previous experiments with privatisation, particularly the Circle contract at Hinchingbrooke.

Stop the NHS Sell-Off – an umbrella group of health campaigns, trade unions and others – warned throughout the whole process that the contract was unworkable and unnecessary, and that the CCG should instead focus on working with existing providers to integrate and improve services. We lobbied all the meetings, collected thousands of signatures on petitions, and ultimately played a significant part in stopping the contract being awarded to the private sector. However, our call for the process to be halted went unheeded, resulting in the sorry – and scandalously wasteful – mess exposed by the NAO. It gives us no satisfaction to say ‘We told you so’ – this fiasco should never have happened in the first place.

We will shortly be releasing our own report into the UCP contract collapse, and its implications for local health services. We are clear that whatever the failings of local health bodies, the chief responsibility lies with the government and its obsession with opening up health services to the private sector, as detailed in the notorious 2012 Health and Social Care Act, the brainchild of former South Cambridgeshire MP and Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. We call on the new government to repudiate this discredited piece of legislation, end experiments with privatisation, and restore the NHS as a fully-funded public service.

John Lister has complied a report on behalf of Keep Our NHS Public and has

Government downgrades Care Minister role

The social care brief has been handed down to parliamentary under-secretary of state for community health and care, David Mowat


David Mowat, parliamentary under-secretary of state for community health and care, will take on the adult social care brief.
Photo: Department of Health

The role of social care minister has been downgraded following new prime minister Theresa May’s government reshuffle.

The adult social care brief will now be overseen by parliamentary under-secretary of state for community health and care David Mowat.

It was previously a minister of state position, a more senior role, held by Alistair Burt.

Burt was appointed minister of state for community and social care in May 2015. He announced his plans to resign in September earlier this month, but his resignation has taken effect earlier than expected due to Theresa May becoming leader of the Conservative party and prime minister.

This is the first time in eight years that the adult social care brief has been handled at junior minister level. When Labour MP, Phil Hope, took up the post in 2008, it was upgraded to minister of state level.

The last four post-holders – Hope, Liberal Democrats Paul Burstow and Norman Lamb, and Burt – were all ministers of state.

Government reshuffle

Secretary of state Jeremy Hunt will now lead on mental health, which previously sat within the care minister remit, alongside his responsibilities for all areas of health policy. Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow in Shropshire, has been appointed minister of state for health. He will lead on hospital care, patient safety and NHS performance, operations and workforce.

Mowat, who is the MP for Warrington South, will be responsible for adult social care, carers, community services, cancer, dementia, learning disabilities, and all elements of primary care, including dentistry and pharmacy.

Mowat previously served as parliamentary private secretary to Greg Clark, the former secretary of state for communities and local government. He was also elected to the public accounts committee, which scrutinises all aspects of government expenditure, in 2015.

Prior to his political career, Mowat chaired a charity dedicated to improving the life chances of young people and also set up Warrington Jobs Club, an initiative that aims to help local residents get back into work.

He lists his political interests as nuclear power, energy, and pensions.

Directorate restructure

The move follows a substantial reorganisation of the Department of Health, which has reduced any single focus on social care.

The new arrangement, which came into effect on 1 July, saw the separate directorate for social care come together with digital, technology, and local government to form one single directorate for community care. The office of the chief social worker, Lyn Romeo, also sits within this directorate. It is overseen by director general for community care, Tamara Finkelstein.

Jon Rouse, former director general of social care and local government, stayed on at the DH to oversee the changes, but leaves today to join the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership as chief officer.



It’s Our NHS

At the packed meeting with over 200 people attending, Defend the NHS Sussex held an organising meeting on Saturday 30th June in Brighton with speakers from Brighton’s MP Caroline Lucas, Joanne Land from Co-convenor NHS Momentum, Mike Campbell – Protect Our NHS Bristol, Danielle Tiplady from the Bursary or Bust campaign for nurses bursaries, Dr Todd Leckie who’s a junior doctor and fighting against Jeremy Hunt and with other junior doctors across the county on their contracts, Marion Macapline; How come we didn’t know?, Vicky Penner who’s campaigned for Save Lewisham Hospital campaign and also a works for 38 Degrees and others.

At the meeting each speaker spoke about the Nurses bursaries, junior doctors contract, privatisation and  Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) and the continuing campaign for the NHS up and down the country.

Watch the video to find out more.

Campaigners Issue Stark Warning Over NHS Cuts Programme

Hands Off Hinchingbrooke have issued a stark warning following the release of the draft Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, in what they describe as a ‘thinly detailed blueprint for cuts which has more holes in it than a “sieve” and it is a disgrace and insult to the people of Cambridgeshire to put forward such an ill-thought-out document’.

The ‘Fit for the Future’ document, which was overseen by NHS Improvement, outlines a 10 point plan to deliver four key priorities for change, however the group believe that the lack of detail is masking savage cuts and downgrading of services in order to make the £250 million savings imposed by central government.

They believe that the lack of transparency and the fact that the STP plans are being forced through at an alarming pace will mean that the cuts programme may be agreed before the public are fully aware of the situation. Although there have been some reassurances offered over Accident and Emergency services, it is not clear whether some may be downgraded or lost altogether.

Cambs and Pboro CCG logo

Campaigners have stated that they will fight tooth and nail against any cuts. Daniel Laycock, Secretary of Hands Off Hinchingbrooke said ‘ This is the latest in a long line of threats to our local hospital and the NHS as a whole. Our local services have been used as a testing ground for NHS privatisation in an experiment that we fought and said would fail. It gives us no pleasure to say that we were right. The release of the STP for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough seems nothing more than a thinly detailed blueprint for cuts which has more holes in it than a “sieve” and it is a disgrace and insult to the people of Cambridgeshire to put forward such an ill-thought-out document’. We fear that this is being rushed through behind closed doors and contains a massive programme of cuts. This is the result of Tory government policy towards the NHS, deliberately starving it of funds in order to break it up and sell it off to the private sector.

Our communities need full Accident & Emergency services. They are already stretched and yet again this week we have the situation where Hinchingbrooke Hospital has pleaded with people not to use A&E unless absolutely necessary. There is a massive financial crisis across the NHS. If our MP Jonathan Djanogly is serious about campaigning for Hinchingbrooke then now is the time for him to join us in appealing to the government to fully fund the NHS and stop their damaging cuts agenda. We will fight tooth and nail against any cuts or closures and continue to campaign for a fully funded, publicly owned and publicly controlled NHS’

For more information on the Sustainability and Transformation Plan or ‘Fit for the Future’ for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.