ALTHOUGH implacably opposed in principle to any private sector involvement in the NHS, trade unionists are keeping an open mind on whether staff and patients will benefit from Circle’s plans for the future of Hinchingbrooke Hospital.

Unison regional organiser Phil Gooden told The Hunts Post: "From Day One, we have been opposed to the principle of private sector involvement in any NHS establishment.

"But we note that Circle has been awarded a 10-year contract. That should mean the district general hospital in Huntingdon has that degree of commitment to continuing its provision, after years of uncertainty."

"But there was no reason why a strong chief executive with private sector experience could not have achieved the same progress within the NHS, he insisted.

"We think that ideologically this is the wrong approach. Ideology has no place in the NHS."

But he was keeping an open mind about how the changes at Hinchingbrooke would work, following a presentation to stakeholders by Circle chief executive Ali Parsa on Monday.

"On paper what we see looks very good. But is there anything that would prevent that being achieved under the old model? Answer - no."