NORTH DERBYSHIRE: Campaigners welcome ruling in fight to preserve NHS

NDET 3-1-13 MC 6'Campaigners lobby CCG over NHS privatisation fears outside NHS Commissioning Group in Chesterfield.
NDET 3-1-13 MC 6'Campaigners lobby CCG over NHS privatisation fears outside NHS Commissioning Group in Chesterfield.

A NEWLY formed NHS management group and campaigners fighting to save the NHS from privatisation have welcomed the Government’s withdrawal of controversial regulations that could have forced the group to use more private providers.

The North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which will replace primary care trusts as planners and purchasers of health services, and the North Derbyshire 38 Degrees campaign group, had been concerned the Government was going to give the go-ahead to Regulation 75 which would have obliged CCGs to look at private health providers.

However, the government agreed last week to withdraw and re-write the competition regulation concerning the selection and provision of services.

Dr Ben Milton, North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group chairman, said: “We welcome today’s announcement that the government has agreed to withdraw and re-write controversial competition regulations.

“As a membership organisation we have listened to what local people have had to say through our patient and public engagement events. Many feared that the government’s proposals would open up many more services to competition from private companies and could disrupt services for patients. We shared these concerns with the government and are pleased that these proposals are now being reconsidered.”

Liz Henderson, of North Derbyshire 38 Degrees, feared that if Regulation 75 had been approved CCGs would have been forced to use private providers who can afford to do work at cheaper rates leading to a greater privatised influence over the NHS.

She said: “If Regulation 75 had gone through the CCG would have lost the freedom to keep the NHS unprivatised.”

North Derbyshire 38 Degrees campaigner Joe Clark told a CCG public meeting last week at NE Derbyshire District Council offices that NHS contracts should stay in the public sector and that changes to the NHS could lead to CCGs only providing the services they can afford which could lead to wage cuts and staff downgrading.

Dr Milton confirmed he had discussed 38 Degrees privatisation concerns with campaigners during the public meeting but declined to comment further on any further issues.

However, He added: “We are always keen to meet with patients and residents about their concerns and thoughts on the local NHS and have met recently with representatives from 38 Degrees and other campaigners.

“We have shared with them the ways that they can have their say in the CCG through our patient and public involvement process and look forward to working with them in the future.

“Our CCG brings the local NHS closer to patients than ever before, with every GP Practice involved in developing local health services. Clinicians and managers are working together to ensure that we get the best possible services for our population with the resources we have. Quality and patient experience of care underpins each and every commissioning decision we make.”

NHS North Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group represents 38 GP practices, acting on behalf of over 298,000 patients covering North Derbyshire. They are one of four clinical commissioning groups in the county established to take on the responsibility of health care for the people of Derbyshire.