NHS Gloucestershire is carrying out a consultation on whether Stroud’s health services should stay within the NHS or be put out to tender.
There are two options: to create a new NHS trust to run Stroud services or to allow the services to be put out to tender.
Stroud Town Council has strongly objected to any plan to allow other providers take over and has called for the services to remain in the NHS (Option 1).
“If Option 2 is pursued, the public will have no access to information about providers who apply, and consequently, no opportunity to contribute to, or evaluate, impact assessments relating to their proposals,” the town council states in its letter to Jan Stubbings, chief Executive of NHS Gloucestershire.
The town council has taken a leading role in the debate surrounding the future of NHS services in Stroud.
The NHS had planned to turn over the running of the services to a social enterprise company. Following protests and a court challenge by Michael Lloyd, NHS Gloucestershire backed down from the plan and agreed to carry out further extensive consultations.
In a survey carried out by the town council, 94% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed to the town council’s support for protecting the NHS and its campaign to ensure residents’ views were listened to and acted upon.
The town council argues that Option 1 to transfer the services to a new NHS trust would save hundreds of thousands of pounds rather than go through a costly tender process.
“A recent survey concludes that the NHS is the second most cost-effective health system in the developed world in terms of mortality reduction,” states the town council.
“We object to private providers taking profits by means of lowering standards of care for patients and/or reducing pay and conditions of staff.”
The consultation period ends on October 1. Stroud town mayor Amanda Moriarty urged residents to vote for Option 1.
“It’s crucial that the people of Stroud continue to speak out to protect our NHS services,” she said. “If people don’t speak out now in favour of Option 1 it will be too late and we will lose our beloved NHS service.”
People can go online to vote at www.nhsglos.nhs.uk or pick up the consultation document and form from the town council office.