Protestors target upcoming health group meetings

MASS protests are being planned outside two big health meetings where a contentious £235m MSK contract award will be discussed.

Local campaign groups say several hundred angry protesters will make their voices heard ahead of a Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) meeting on November 26 in Goring.

They will again gather before the county council’s Health and Social Care Committee (HASC) next meet in Chichester on December 5.

Don’t Cut Us Out and 38 Degrees members have been angered by the CCG’s decision to hand over all non-emergency orthopaedic services to private health consortium Bupa CSH Ltd.

Campaigners calling for the deal to be reversed feel they can exert pressure on the NHS decision-makers by turning out in their numbers.

“Both meetings are crucial and we should be able to get between 300 and 400 people to them,” a Don’t Cut Us Out (DCUO) spokesman said. “The CCG are the ones who have made this decision, not HASC, who only have the power to refer it (to the health secretary), so we plan to make our voices heard directly to them.”

The CCG insist there will be no adverse effects to trauma or other musculoskeletal services across the county because of the deal.

But criticising the decision, DCUO chairman Margaret Guest said: “Splitting up trauma and orthopaedic services will have a massive knock-on effect on our local hospitals in Worthing and Chichester.

“This contract could lose life-saving A&E cover at both St Richards and Worthing hospitals.”