CAMBRIDGESHIRE Community Services NHS Trust is part of a consortium bidding for one of the biggest healthcare contracts ever put out for tender.

The trust (CCS) has joined forces with Circle, the private company which manages Hinchingbrooke Hospital, and Capita, an organisation providing a range of services, from business management to HR.

Together, they intend to submit a bid to manage health and social care for adults and older people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, a contract reportedly worth between £700million and £1.1billion.

In a message to staff, CCS chief executive Matthew Winn said: "CCS NHS Trust has a proud history of delivering innovative community-based services and our clinical staff are passionate about ensuring the very best outcomes for local people.

"Our bid will offer a dynamic approach to delivering integrated services for adults and older people across the hospital and community settings."

Circle bosses are known to be keen to integrate the care it already oversees at Hinchingbrooke with looking after older people.

The bidding process is being run by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group. A spokesman said potential bidders would find out this month whether they had been shortlisted and would be invited to bid.

Unions have condemned the move as another step towards privatisation.

Phil Green, Unison regional organiser, added: "UNISON is disappointed that an NHS organisation such as CCS has been forced by the Clinical Commissioning Group on behalf of the Coalition Government to partner with these profit-making concerns."