THE chief executive of Circle, the private company which runs Hinchingbrooke Hospital, has resigned.

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Ali Parsa said he wanted to stand down from his executive leadership role “so that I have the time I need for other projects that now require some of my focus”.

Steve Melton, the firm’s head of mobilisation who led the final stages of bidding and negotiation for Circle’s Hinchingbrooke contract with the NHS, will take over as chief executive on an interim basis.

Michael Kirkwood, chairman of Circle Holdings, said: “Ali has been instrumental in forming the entrepreneurial vision and early development of the company.”

He said Mr Parsa had been a “pioneer developing a business model which empowers doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals to redefine UK healthcare delivery for the benefit of their patients” and praised him for his eight years at the company.

However, both the Circle board and Mr Parsa had “agreed that now is the appropriate time for him to assume a non-executive role”, he said.

Mr Parsa said he was “immensely proud of what has been achieved by Circle since it was founded”.

However Tracey Lambert, head of health for UNISON in the Eastern region, said he was “walking away before he has completed his job”.

She added: “Bringing in a private company like Circle to run the hospital has always been a dangerous experiment. Ali Parsa made a lot of claims about the unprecedented level of savings he could make at Hinchingbrooke.

“Not only are his claims exaggerated, but they are made at the expense of staff and patients.

“There is still a very big question mark over the long-term financial viability of Circle and whoever is in charge of the hospital bringing in a private company to run an NHS hospital is not right for the health service.”

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