Risks of privatising NHS scanner service | Letters

We are writing as elected public governors of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, to clarify some of the facts outlined in your article (Top cancer hospital loses scanning services to private sector, 7 March).

We are at a loss to understand how the scanning service at the Churchill hospital could be contracted to another provider. The Churchill hospital has worldwide recognition for its research, for its training of nuclear medicine cancer doctors, as well as for outstanding cancer diagnostic provision.

Most importantly, the scanning service at the Churchill is embedded in the rest of the treatment and services provided by the trust for its patients, with all the medical and clinical support available on site.

It is difficult for us to understand how the Churchill’s PET-CT scanning service could be better provided by a private company which has less, or even no, experience in all three of these areas.

Since NHS England’s proposals impact on patients, and represent a fundamental change to the services available to them, there is a statutory requirement that the proposal be reviewed by Oxfordshire county council’s joint health and overview scrutiny committee. This committee, which will meet on 4 April, can refer this matter to the secretary of state for health and social care, who in turn can refer it to the independent reconfiguration panel for further review.

In the meantime, we are concerned about the significant impact that this proposal is having on all the highly qualified, experienced and extremely professional clinicians and their team colleagues working at the Churchill hospital.
Rosie Herring
Anita Higham
Elected public governors of Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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