West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper is disgusted at moves by West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to privatise local healthcare services delivering a hammer blow to the NHS in West Lancashire.

Two private health companies, Optum Health Solutions (UK) and Virgin Care Services, are the only providers invited to continue negotiations to take over urgent care services, which includes GP out of hours, walk-in centres in Ormskirk and Skelmersdale, and the Acute Visiting Service.

Both of these companies have also been shortlisted to provide community health services while local NHS provision by Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust will be ended.

Rosie has slammed the decision of the health body, which is run by West Lancashire GPs.  She does not believe it is in the best interests of NHS patients, NHS staff or residents in West Lancashire.

Following the announcement that Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust will lose both community health services and urgent care services, MP Rosie said:

“For West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group to be privatising NHS health services is a scandalous decision and one to which I am opposed.

“Taking away services from the local hospital, where the new interim team have been working hard to deliver change and improve services, will be a real blow.

“The health bosses at the CCG talk about ‘creating effective and sustainable services for the future’.  It is unclear how giving away local NHS-run services to private companies or out of town organisations is going to achieve that aim.

“As far as I am concerned all the CCG has done by making this decision is to actually weaken NHS services in West Lancashire.  And that this is the thin end of the wedge.

“I fear this is more about ‘flexing their muscles’ rather than supporting NHS services here in West Lancashire.

“In their press announcement the CCG refers to freeing up capacity at A&E.  It’s ironic that local GPs have made this decision.  Perhaps if they focused on ensuring West Lancashire residents could get a GP appointment that may more readily ease the pressure on A&E and give patients the better access they need.

“There needs to be comprehensive scrutiny of these decisions if the CCG is going to be handing out our NHS services like sweeties to the private sector.  Decisions on services which will have long-term consequences for the future of West Lancashire’s NHS services I fear.”

“Local residents should ask their GP why they are allowing their services to be privatised?”

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