THE first year of Circle’s management of Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon has been scrutinised by district councillors.

Huntingdonshire District Council's social well-being overview and scrutiny panel was given a presentation on the hospital's situation by trust board members John Pye, Mike Burrows and Dr Jill Challener as well as a representative from Circle.

The councillors were shown what the hospital considered had gone well in the last year with Circle's 16-point plan, including staff engagement, A&E targets and the launch of the Stop the Line patient safety scheme. The panel was also told of what worked "less well", which included mixed performances in staff sickness, turnover and satisfaction, a £3.7million overspend, which Circle has paid, and the requirement of a review of the Audit Committee.

The hospital representatives told the panel that patient care would continue to be the highest priority.

Councillor Steve Criswell, panel chairman, said: "We have received a number of assurances, particularly in relation to the hospital's current financial performance. Circle sees the injection of £3.7m of its own money as an investment and demonstration of its confidence in being able to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

"Patient care is quite rightly what concerns people most and will continue to be the focus of our attention."

The representatives will return next year to update councillors on progress.