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Supporters of 38 Degrees campaign present NHS change petition to Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group
A patients group has presented a petition to the new body responsible for commissioning healthcare in Hertfordshire, asking it to protect the NHS as it goes through a "radically new and untried" set-up.
Local supporters of the national campaign "38 Degrees" voiced their concerns to Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group, which will replace NHS Hertfordshire on April 1.
The petition asks the clinical commissioning group to protect the NHS, believing government reforms will lead to the break-up and privatisation of services.
It reads: "Our NHS is precious, and we’re relying on you to protect it.
“Please do all you can to stop local health services being broken up or taken over by irresponsible private companies.
"Protect local NHS services and consult patients properly before making changes, spend money wisely and don’t do deals with irresponsible private companies. Adopt policies and a constitution which reflect these values".
The document has been signed by 1,792 residents and was presented by group member Edie Glatter to the board’s chairman Dr Nicolas Small.
The group attended the clinical commissioning group’s board meeting on Thursday.
Philippa Jones, patient group co-ordinator, said: "In the radically new and untried NHS set-up it is vital that we all monitor closely the actions of local decision-making bodies to make sure they put our interests first, not those of private companies or government. We need people to be involved."
She also gave Dr Small a set of proposed changes to the clinical commissioning group’s constitution, which were drafted by lawyers working for 38 Degrees.
These suggestions are aimed at ensuring ethical and social factors are taken into account by private companies contracted by the clinical commissioning group, rather than just value for money.
After the meeting, patients raised issues of concern including hospital bed capacity and problems with the ambulance service.