Churchill Hospital trust concerned about cancer scanner service privatisation

The organisation which may have its cancer scanning service at the Churchill Hospital given to a private firm has joined the long list of people concerned about the impact that would have on patients.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 10:54 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 10:56 am
The Churchill Hospital, Oxford where the PET-CT scanners are installed NNL-190219-193213009

Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS trust’s board and governors are worried about the quality and safety of patient care should it lose the PET-CT service, it said in a statement yesterday (Monday, March 18).

The statement added that chief executive Bruno Holthof has raised these concerns with NHS England, which commissions this service and made the decision to give the contract to InHealth.

Campaign group Keep Our NHS Public Oxfordshire has added its voice to the growing opposition to the plan, including doctors, MPs and fellow campaigners.

Joan Stewart from the group said: “Keep Our NHS Public is deeply concerned that a vital cancer scanning service will be removed from an NHS hospital to be run by a little- known private outfit.

“In the purpose-built centre at the Churchill hospital, safe patient care is paramount and delivered by highly-qualified and trained staff.

“We are alarmed that patients will be treated off-site by unlicensed staff, employed by a company that has profit at its heart.

“The trust must act now to challenge this decision. We expect it to put up a fight to keep the scanning service at the Churchill, where it belongs.”

People from across the Thames Valley are referred to the Churchill for its world-leading cancer treatments, which includes the state-of-the-art PET-CT scanners, procured by OUH.

But the Banbury Guardian revealed that NHS England has decided to give the contract for the PET-CT service to InHealth.

This has lead to a outcry from campaigners across the country as the firm would not be able to use the Churchill’s specially-designed accommodation nor the experts already on site, and the public was not consulted.

The contract has already been agreed but will not be finalised until the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Oxfordshire County Council has considered it on April 4.

OUH’s statement said they will speak at the meeting, particularly in relation to patient care safety and quality, and NHS England has been invited too to explain the situation.