Campaigners call on new NHS care group to turn against privatisation

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CAMPAIGNERS opposed to privatisation in the NHS will protest outside the headquarters of one of Yorkshire’s new clinical commissioning groups tomorrow and present a petition containing 3,000 names.

Clinical commissioning groups, or CCGs, have been set up to replace primary care trusts, and are committees made up mainly of GPs, which will decide how to provide healthcare in their local areas.

NHS patients and workers said they planned to lobby the Sheffield CCG to protect the NHS, to make sure that anti-privatisation values are “entrenched” in its new constitution.

Jon Ashe, one of the organisers of the Sheffield petition said: “Around 3,000 local people have signed this petition. Huge numbers of people want to safeguard the NHS and stop any privatisation of healthcare services.

“We’re seriously concerned about the dangers of the Government’s new Health and Social Care Act, especially the likelihood that some NHS services will be privatised.

“At present, the new Sheffield CCG says it will not be pursuing privatisation unless existing providers fall below the standards demanded.

“However, we want the CCG to give us clear assurances now, before they are pushed by the Government along a road which will eventually lead to the break up of the NHS.”

Last year the Government instructed all primary care trusts to make proposals for which NHS community services should be opened up to competition between organisations including private companies.

Mr Ashe said the then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, made it clear that this was just the first stage in a process which would eventually affect significant numbers of NHS services.

He added: “All over the country NHS patients have been expressing their concern about the competition aspects in particular. If people act together now, we can put a stop to privatisation and keep the NHS as it should be.”