RECENTLY we found out from the Conservative Government that the contract for PET-CT scanning services at the Churchill Hospital may be stripped from them.

Instead the contract will be awarded to the private company, InHealth.

That’s why I’m deeply concerned. The awarding of this contract has raised huge questions around accessibility, cost and quality of care which, to be quite honest, is absolutely no way to treat vulnerable cancer patients.

Hospital 'very concerned' for patient safety after cancer scan decision

The lack of assurances that have been given so far to residents, doctors and patients is simply not good enough, people need to be consulted adequately and given the guarantees they need.

Oxford's Churchill Hospital has previously provided vital cancer scans to patients who provided the service since 2005. This has rightly worried and caused anger among many residents who have filled my post bag with this issue, and many clinicians who rely heavily on these scans.

We must keep out health service public and fit for purpose. It is deeply worrying that the Tories have overseen NHS England reward a contract to a private company, that has directly brought patient safety into question.

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The awarding of PET-CT contracts to private firms brings with it a lot of issues from local residents, especially the most vulnerable, who rely on these vital services. Questions have been raised around transport disruption to the scans for example. The level of expertise staying the same also has to be questioned. We must demand better from NHS England and the Department for Health and Social Care.

I’m happy that some fellow MPs in Oxfordshire have also been active on this campaign as well as health campaigners and doctors who have raised their concerns. I think we now need to call on NHS England for a proper public consultation in the Thames Valley area, residents need to have their further concerns addressed fully at the very least.

Patients raise fears over privatisation deal

A pledge that accessibility, cost and quality will not change is the minimum NHS England can do. I have asked a Parliamentary question on the matter to try to get assurances from the Government on this matter and will keep campaigning.

But this feeds into a bigger picture, the crippling underfunding of our NHS.

The Liberal Democrats have acknowledged that the current approach isn’t working and have suggested a penny on the pound, so everyone pays their fair share and make sure we have a fit for purpose, accessible and user-friendly health service.

I will continue to campaign on this and call from answers from NHS England and the Government.

People of ill-health, doctors and campaigners deserve better than the lack of assurances we’ve had so far.