Protesters gather over controversial hospital contract

A DECISION seen as ‘a big sledge hammer being banged against the door of privatisation’ was opposed by a huge crowd of protesters yesterday (November 26).

Health workers, patients and councillors gathered outside the Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) HQ, in The Causeway, in Durrington, to oppose the decision to hand musculoskeletal services over to Bupa CSH.

WH 261114 Anti-Bupa contract protest outside the CCG offices, Goring-by-Sea. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-141126-180411001

WH 261114 Anti-Bupa contract protest outside the CCG offices, Goring-by-Sea. Photo by Derek Martin SUS-141126-180411001

Councillor Jim Deen, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Worthing West, was one of the group opposing.

“This is a big sledge hammer being banged against the door of privatisation,” he said.

“The level of privatisation of services is huge - all MSK services,”

He added the splitting of MSK services will leave the less predictable parts of the service for the hospital trust to manage.

“It’s vital we oppose it now because it’s the first of many contracts which will be put out an they will cherry pick the services they want to provide and leave the remnants probably being a paid for insurance based service.”

Campaigners were calling for a full public consultation on the decision.

Peter Keiley, 67, a Broadwater resident, said he relied on MSK services and he was worried the service would be taken to centres further away.

“I’m dependent on the NHS and I wish it to continue in the same state it’s in,” he said.

“If our hospital decided not to be a provider to their service I would have to travel miles and miles to get a service with any level of competence.”

Cllr Deen added: “It’s going to disrupt lots of other services in our hospitals and threaten the future of A and E departments.

“It will disrupt the finances and the staffing and the services they provide.”