Cornwall

Royal Cornwall Hospital privatisation opposed at demonstration

Privatisation protest
Image caption About 75 people have been protesting outside the Royal Cornwall Hospital

Dozens of people have protested outside the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro against plans to privatise services.

Later the campaigners are expected to hand in a petition calling on the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust to reconsider plans to put pathology, sterile services and IT out to tender.

The trust said the process would secure additional investment, support and expertise.

It added it would also ensure taxpayers' money was spent efficiently.

'NHS completely ruined'

Campaigner Dr Jurg Ehmann, who works at the hospital, said: "This an NHS issue, not a local issue, and breaking up the service will just lead to increased inefficiency.

"The NHS is being completely ruined."

A Department of Health spokesman said the use of the private sector in the NHS represented 6% of its budget.

He said: "Charities, social enterprises and other providers continue to play an important role for the NHS as they have done for many years.

"By taking tough decisions, we've been able to increase the NHS budget by an extra £2 billion for the next year financial year."

Gavin Barker, a member of the trust's shadow council of governors, said: "The health service in Treliske [the Royal Cornwall Hospital] has always been about care and concern for patients and it's not about a business.

"I just do not see privatisation as the answer."

Last year, plans were announced to privatise up to £75m worth of NHS services - including outpatient appointments, follow ups and non-complex operations in cardiology, gynaecology and general surgery.

They were later abandoned after the clinical commissioning group, NHS Kernow, said procurement of the services was now not the way forward.

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