Health campaigners urge public to take part in consultation to prevent privatisation of NHS services

First published in News Stroud News and Journal: Photograph of the Author by , SNJ reporter for Stonehouse and Chalford. Twitter @ChrisWarneSNJ

ANTI-PRIVATISATION campaigners will deliver a 5,000 strong petition to NHS bosses later this week which calls on them to keep community health services within the public sector, rather than auctioning them off to private companies. 

With less than a fortnight to go before a consultation on the future of the county’s health services closes, members of protest group Stroud Against the Cuts have decided to take their campaign to the headquarters of NHS Gloucestershire in a bid to persuade senior management not to outsource care.

At 8.45am on Thursday, September 27, SATC will hand over the petition and stage a rally outside Sanger House in Brockworth, where representatives of the Primary Care Trust are based.

The action is designed not only to demonstrate the depth of public feeling against privatisation, but also to raise awareness about the ongoing consultation in the hope that more people take part and vote to keep services publicly run.

Two weeks ago, SATC campaigners warned that the county’s eight community hospitals and nine health clinics risked being sold off to private providers if residents did not respond to the consultation.

We've received a lot of support for our campaign for local health services to be kept in the NHS rather than put out to tender," said James Beecher, of SATC.

"With just over a week left to respond to NHS Gloucestershire's consultation we want to remind people that it really is important as many of us as possible make it clear that we want our local services to be kept in the NHS and not put out to tender.

"Tendering is expensive and unnecessary, and risks a private company taking over services."

The consultation, which finishes on Wednesday, October 3, contains two options.

Option one supports the creation of a standalone NHS trust and is favoured by SATC, which says it is the only choice to guarantee services stay in the NHS.

Option two is for a tender process, which would allow private firms to bid to takeover the running of services.

In a survey of health staff in June, 91 per cent of respondents called for the formation of a new standalone NHS Trust to run services.

To take part in the consultation visit www.nhsglos.nhs.uk

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