Andy Cairns, Ed Bober and Roger Fredenburgh of North Norfolk Against the Cuts group, hand over a petition to Dr Anoop Dhesi, chairman of North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Groups. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
A petition signed by more than 1,300 people was handed over to local doctors yesterday over concerns about the “privatisation” of the NHS.
On April 1, five Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) in Norfolk will take over the work of NHS Norfolk and Waveney as a result of the abolition of primary care trusts under a government reform of health services.
Campaigners from the North Norfolk Against the Cuts group presented a petition to officials from the North Norfolk CCG over their fears for the future of services in the area.
Local GPs will be in charge of commissioning services from April 1, with the campaign group fearing that private companies will be hired to run services for local patients to save money.
The petition was started in December and was presented at Hoveton and Wroxham Medical Centre yesterday following the end of a public consultation on health commissioning in North Norfolk.
Andy Cairns, secretary of North Norfolk Against the Cuts, said he had concerns that CCGs could commission services to “any qualified provider” and expressed concerns about private companies making profit on people’s ill health and “cherry picking” by contractors which could weaken the NHS.
“We hope the petition will give confidence to local doctors to argue for commissioning rules which guarantee the long-term survival of the NHS as the best way of providing a comprehensive and efficient service,” he said.
Anoop Dhesi, chairman of the North Norfolk CCG, which covers 20 practices and a population of 167,800, said GPs were passionate advocates for the principles of the NHS. “The changes are happening and we want to get the best for patients in North Norfolk.
“It is an opportunity for us to get involved, not just day to day, with patients and we are well placed to influence health services because we talk to patients day in day out,” he said.