Petition to save NHS from privatisation handed to Wakefield health bosses

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Campaigners against privatisation of the district’s NHS services presented a petition of more than 800 names to health bosses.

Action group 38 Degrees met bosses from Wakefield’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the body set to take over the district’s NHS budget, to share their concerns this week.

The group fears that government legislation which makes it easier for private companies to take over NHS services could put profits before the needs of patients.

Hundreds of Wakefield residents signed the 38 Degrees petition, which urged NHS bosses to avoid doing deals with healthcare providers and consult patients before making any changes.

The petition said: “Our NHS is precious, and we’re relying on you to protect it. Please do all you can to stop local health services being broken up or taken over by irresponsible private companies.”

Kevin Swift, a member of the group, said after the meeting on Tuesday: “We do have concerns and our concerns arise from the nature of the legislation in the Health and Social Care Act having an emphasis on a market-orientated approach.

“We are pleased with the response we had. We had a good discussion over a range of concerns involved, including how they would deal with potential conflicts of interest.

“We still have concerns and we will continue to be watchful. We shall be meeting them again in a couple of months.”

From April, the CCG will become the commissioner of the district’s NHS services as Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are abolished.

CCG chairman Dr Phil Earnshaw said: “We feel that we had a constructive meeting and discussed several issues.

“We have agreed to meet again in May and to meet with the larger group to discuss the new NHS and the implications for the care of the people of Wakefield.

“The CCG wishes to engage with the people of Wakefield and to operate in an open and transparent way.

“It therefore welcome the opportunity to discuss important issues with groups such as 38 degrees.”