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Campaigners bid to limit private firms' part in the NHS
9:30am Thursday 17th May 2012 in News
A new bid has been made to limit private companies’ involvement in the NHS in Oxfordshire.
The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) is preparing to take over buying healthcare for Oxfordshire from the primary care trust in the biggest NHS reform for decades.
But the new body is being urged to sign a ‘fair commissioning’ charter.
The appeal was made at a meeting of the Oxfordshire branch of the Keep Our NHS Public group in Oxford Town Hall on Tuesday, attended by 70 people.
The charter would commit the OCCG not to take any action to reduce the access of patients to local health services and to resist having providers of health services forced on it from above.
The reorganisation will see local primary care trusts dismantled by 2013 and the responsibilities taken up by local commissioning groups of health care professionals.
The provision of healthcare will be opened up to ‘any willing provider’, including the private sector and charities.
With the Health Bill now on the statute book, the campaign is focusing on trying to influence the new organisation – and to curb any involvement of private firms.
It also intends to seek the support of sympathetic GPs to press the OCCG to resist buying services from private companies.
Ken Williamson, co-chairman of the Oxfordshire Keep Our NHS Public campaign, said: “If the OCCG signed the charter, it would at least bring some safeguards.
“It is supported by many GPs across the country.”
No one from the OCCG was available to comment.