Campaigners have handed in a petition to a new health body that calls against the “privatisation” of the NHS in South Norfolk.

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A “save our NHS” petition, which was signed by nearly 1,000 people, was presented to officials at the South Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) by local 38 Degrees members on Wednesday.

From April 1, five CCGs will replace Norfolk and Waveney NHS as the main commissioners of health services as a result of the abolition of primary care trusts.

The 38 Degrees campaign calls on the new CCGs, run by local GPs, to safeguard the NHS from unscrupulous health businesses and private companies, which will be bidding for contracts to deliver NHS services. Nationally, the campaign has gathered over 600,000 signatures.

Sue Vaughan, a retired GP, who coordinated the south Norfolk campaign said it was reassuring to get answers from chief officer Ann Donkin and Jonathan Bryson, chairman of the South Norfolk CCG, who told them that services would be commissioned on the basis of quality and not to the lowest bidder.

She added that most people were unaware of the implications of the government reforms to the NHS.

“We want our commissioners to be fully aware of the risk of cherry-picking and be astute in the way they draw up contracts. We will be looking over their shoulders making sure they do not bring the cowboys in,” she said.

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