Partnership will let ‘private company in by back door’

The Churchill Hospital, Oxford whose specialist cancer scanning service privatisation is at the centre of a row NNL-190219-193213009
The Churchill Hospital, Oxford whose specialist cancer scanning service privatisation is at the centre of a row NNL-190219-193213009

The privatisation of the OUH PET-CT scanning operation will be a major item on Thursday’s Oxfordshire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (HOSC) agenda.

Campaigners from Keep Our NHS Public Oxon (KONPOX) are urging councillors not to accept the Department of Health’s (DoH) rejection of the recent HOSC referral of the privatisation for review.

HOSC had previously written to the Secretary of State arguing the 2016 bidding process for the highly specialised service was flawed.

Councillors believe NHS England’s 2016 online ‘public engagement’ did not follow rules for inclusive public consultation which would have allowed Oxfordshire people and doctors to air their objections.

They say this route to ‘preferred bidder’ status – given to InHealth – should be re-run.

Bill McKeith of KONPOX said: “It is wrong to treat the HOSC, the democratic voice for the people of Oxfordshire with contempt. Its decision to refer was on the appropriate grounds that the proposed change of service would be detrimental to the population it serves and preferred bidder status was awarded without appropriate consultation.”

KONPOX said the DoH is wrong to claim that planned ‘partnership’ talks between Oxford University Hospitals Trust – which will lose control of its world-renowned service – and InHealth supercede the need for a review of the procurement.

“In this so-called ‘partnership’, a commercial firm, InHealth, which we believe offers an inferior contract, subcontracts to our hospital which offers a superior service. To believe an imposed and unwanted ‘partnership’ will give us the excellent service we have come to rely on is indeed to believe in miracles,” said Mr McKeith.

“Why would we want our world class service taken out of the hands of the local NHS and put into the hands of a private sector provider who would then subcontract back to the NHS? The ‘partnership’ is a red herring to let InHealth in through the back door.”

To read more on this developing story see: Fight against privatisation of scanner service continues.