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Monday, 28 July 2014

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‘Privatisation’ fears for GP-led NHS move

RESIDENTS across South Cumbria have spoken out against an overhaul of the NHS which they fear represents a “privatisation” of local services.

From April, primary care trusts will be replaced by GP-led clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), as part of the government’s NHS shake-up.

The new group, which will have a budget of £693m for 2013/14, will take over commissioning health services for hospitals, community and mental health services from NHS Cumbria.

The government has argued CCGs will give more power to those on the frontline, giving clinicians greater freedom and a strong leadership role.

But some fear the new group will mean GPs are more concerned with saving money than treating patients.

Philip Broomfield, of Greenacres Guesthouse at Lindale near Grange, wrote in an email to the Evening Mail: “We want our GPs to cure our ills, not be constantly looking anxiously at their budgets, or worse still, trying to make a profit.”

John Kerr, of Ocean Road, Walney, said: “The CCG should listen – lots of us are committed to protecting the NHS from being privatised.”

Each CCG will produce a constitution to show how they will operate but some are concerned the Cumbria constitution – which is still being drafted, does not include a commitment not to deal with “irresponsible private companies”.

Elizabeth Jones, of Hillside Road, Ulverston, wrote: “Some CCGs have agreed to ensure that their policies and constitutions contain a commitment not to deal with irresponsible private companies. Unfortunately the Cumbria CCG has not taken this step.”

A spokeswoman for the Cumbria CCG stressed the constitution was still being drafted and urged residents to submit any feedback or concerns.

The spokeswoman said: “Cumbria CCG’s constitution is currently in draft and as all Clinical Commissioning Groups are membership organisations, made up of GP Member Practices, the draft constitution must be formally ratified by the Full Council of Members. A meeting will be arranged prior to April 2013 for the Full Council of Members to look at this.

“Cumbria CCG is committed to working with stakeholders and the local community as we make decisions about how and where local health services should be delivered.”

The spokeswoman said feedback or questions can be emailed to enquiries@cumbriaccg.nhs.uk.

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