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Doctors' group dismisses health services fears
THE group of doctors set to take over the running of NHS services across a vast area of North Yorkshire has dismissed claims that residents will have little say over health funding is spent in future.
Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is set to take over the commissioning of local health services from NHS North Yorkshire and York next year, also said concerns over the new group’s openess were ill-founded.
The CCG scotched the claims following a meeting of the campaigning body 38 Degrees in Northallerton, during which members urged the CCG to provide more opportunities for public participation.
Helen Greaves, who chaired the meeting, said members expressed a fear that the introduction of the CCG would represent “a move to privatise our cherished NHS and that would mean profits put before patients needs”.
She said: “People are really worried that the services won’t be there when they need them.
“Our understanding is that the rules will give only one member of the public a place on the CCG’s shadow governing body, which clearly is not enough.
“Our members, who come from all walks of life, are concerned that action needs to be taken to ensure that NHS provision in their own localities is safeguarded.”
The group is seeking an urgent meeting with the CCG in an attempt to ensure there are more residents represented on its governing body.
Mrs Greaves said: “In essence, we don’t want NHS services to be watered down and we want our views and suggestions for its future to be heard.”
The CCG, which is controversially calling for paediatric and maternity services at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton to be downgraded, said it viewed the involvement of residents in its decision-making process as important and hoped to make services more responsive to residents’ needs.
It said while NHS North Yorkshire and York’s board included two lay people, it had set up a Health Engagement Network, which 150 residents had already joined.
Debbie Newton, the CCG’s chief operating and finance officer, said: “All CCG shadow governing body meetings are held in public, and members of the public are encouraged to attend and to submit questions to be answered at the meeting.
“The CCG also holds quarterly patient and public congress meetings which are attended by members of the public who are involved in the Health Engagement Network and also members of local GP patient participation groups.”