Partner’ supports survival fight

HUNTINGDONSHIRE S principal private healthcare provider is strongly backing Hinchingbrooke s bid to keep as full a range of services as possible. The Linia Cromwell Hospital, in Huntingdon High Street, claims some of the credit for Hinchingbrooke s succes

HUNTINGDONSHIRE'S principal private healthcare provider is strongly backing Hinchingbrooke's bid to keep as full a range of services as possible.

The Linia Cromwell Hospital, in Huntingdon High Street, claims some of the credit for Hinchingbrooke's success in regaining its two stars a few years ago.

By taking over some of the NHS hospital's backlog of elective surgery, such as hip replacements, it helped Hinchingbrooke to meet its targets for improvement in waiting lists for operations.

Manager Lisa Shacklock, who trained as a nurse at Hinchingbrooke, ending a 16-year career there as an orthopaedic sister, has fond memories and retains close links with former colleagues.

"We are absolutely supportive of the hospital campaign and we have copies of the petition here for staff and patients to sign," she told The Hunts Post.

"We have a partnership with them. Our patients use Hinchingbrooke's MRI scanner and pathology services, and they help us with occupational health screening for our own staff."

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If the strategic health authority proposes withdrawal of intensive care facilities at Hinchingbrooke, it would be inconvenient for the Cromwell but would not prevent its continuing to offer surgery.

It needs intensive care back-up - although it has needed to use it only once in recent memory - and, while the present contract with the NHS hospital a mile away is convenient, it could do a deal with Peterborough or Addenbrooke's hospitals.

"Hinchingbrooke's problem is simply that it's not a foundation trust," said the group's medical director, plastic surgeon Dr Ashar Aslam.

"We have told them we are open to help in any way that enables Hinchingbrooke to continue to serve the community.

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