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'Protect public health from private sector' Appeal on future of hospital services.

Byline: JOANNE DOUGLAS News Reporter

HEALTH bosses say the treatment of skin conditions will remain within the NHS and in hospital in Calderdale but be managed by a private company.

The assurance follows concerns by Calderdale Save Our Service about dermatology being provided by Virgin Care.

The campaign group is lobbying NHS Calderdale to Keep services public and Pete Keal, secretary of Calderdale Save Our Services said: "Many people are worried about the impact of Government policy on the health service.

"Over 1,000 Calderdale residents have signed a petition to protect the NHS and we call on NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group to do its utmost to maintain a comprehensive, publicly run health service in Calderdale."

In 2012, Virgin Healthcare tooK over part of the dermatology service after being commissioned by NHS Calderdale as part of a procurement process.

The Government has said three other services - audiology and hearing, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and non-obstetric ultrasound - can be commissioned via the Any Qualified Provider initiative.

It allows patients to choose from a range of approved providers, such as hospitals or high street providers.

Psychological therapies are already provided under this initiative which Calderdale SOS say is "another route to increased private provision of NHS services."

Dr Alan BrooK, Chairman of the Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: "Calderdale CCG follows a strict procurement process and invited tenders from all suitable providers of healthcare.

"In the case of the new dermatology service, Virgin Care offered the best service which would provide the greatest outcomes for patients and as such achieved the highest score in the tendering process.

"This will continue to be an NHS service, although Virgin Care will be managing and facilitating the local clinicians in the community, including GPs delivering it.

"This does not affect dermatology services that people receive in a hospital environment.

"Any Qualified Provider is a Government initiative. Last year we consulted with local people to understand which services they would LIKE a greater choice over locally.

As a result of this WORK, we will be offering four services under Any Qualified Provider meaning patients will have increased choice about who and where they receive these treatments from".


| SERVICES: Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jan 22, 2013
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