COMMERCIAL: A private firm wholly owned by a foundation trust is to take over the running of a private clinic from Circle, HSJ has learned.

SWFT Clinical Services, a subsidiary of South Warwickshire Foundation Trust, will take over the clinic in Stratford-upon-Avon next month.

The clinic, previously known as Circle Clinic Stratford, is attached to a local GP practice. The practice will retain ownership of the facility, which provides outpatient services including diagnostics and day surgery to private patients.

Circle stopped providing services at the clinic in April to focus on inpatient services.

Glen Burley

Glen Burley called the take over an ‘exciting development for the company and the trust’

SWFT Clinical Services became the first FT subsidiary company when it was set up in 2011. It was initially established so the trust could reclaim VAT charges on outpatient drugs.

Trusts can claim tax exemptions when entering into contracts with third parties to operate dispensaries.

More recently, the company established the Central England Health Training Academy, which runs courses for primary care and nursing home staff.

HSJ understands the venture will help the trust decide whether it can support its NHS services by moving into the private sector, and whether to offer private services at the redeveloped Stratford Hospital, due for completion in 2016.

Although the clinic will remain a predominantly private facility, the trust has not ruled out using it for NHS patients if necessary. South Warwickshire’s chief executive Glen Burley said: “This is an exciting development for the company and the trust, one that will help us to provide local choice as well as to contribute towards our financial sustainability, enabling us to continue to offer the best possible care to our patients.”