Cancer patients in MK could receive a “second class service” under a new move to privatise specialist scanning services, experts claim.
The controversy surrounds the decision by Oxford Clinical Commissioning Group to award a contract for PET-CT scanning services, used to diagnose and treat cancer, to private company InHealth.
Milton Keynes hospital is part of the Oxford group, and hundreds of MK cancer patients, or people with suspected cancer, will be affected.
City Labour councillors fear standards could slip because there are claims that InHealth’s scanners are “massively inferior” to those used by the NHS.
They are alleged to be are up to ten times less powerful as the scanners currently located in NHS hospitals.
Worryingly Adrian Harris, Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Oxford, has also stated that patients from Milton Keynes with cancer who require PET-CT scanning services will now receive second class care.
Cllr Hannah Minns plans to raise the issue at next week’s Health & Wellbeing Board.
She said: “We are very concerned that Tory privatisation of the NHS in Oxford means that patients in MK might suffer. When NHS hospitals and leading clinicians are worried, we have every right to ask questions about how Tory privatisation is hitting NHS standards.
“MK patients should not get a second class service of inferior scans, or in Portakabins on a car parks.”
“MK Labour would like to know if our local MK CCG were consulted on this contract, and if they will look into this matter. We also want them to guarantee that similar privatisation of NHS services to private providers will not happen in MK. Councillors in MK must also be able to look into this decision.”
Council leader Pete Marland, who is Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “ I am sure the MK Clinical Commissioning Group will provide answers to the specific question.”
He added: “These concerns need to be addressed. However on the broader point it shows how fragmented the NHS is right now and that privatisation of the NHS under the Tories is out of control, is undermining care and chipping away at a universal service.”