Cancer Scanning in Oxfordshire

Hannen Beith

Sun 7 Apr, 11:38

"The health secretary has been called in to settle a row over a “murky and opaque” plan to privatise a key element of cancer treatment currently handled by one of England’s most highly respected hospitals."

If I'm reading this correctly (the link to the article posted by Christine, and the later link posted above), it seems that the health secretary will simply review the procurement process, but that InHealth have the contract anyway.  So the scanners will be operated by InHealth no matter what the health secretary says.

"The outcry over the privatisation plan led to a partial climbdown from NHS England, which agreed that the two scanners should stay in Churchill hospital and be operated by NHS staff, though InHealth was still to be given the contract to provide the service."

NHS, or InHealth?  I'm confused.

vicky burton

Fri 29 Mar, 13:17

The above link is to download posters against this cancer scanning privatisation if anyone is interested.

Christine Battersby
👍 3

Thu 28 Mar, 13:00

Very interesting, Hannen. I hope you have posted your review on this site: 

This review site makes it clear that some people have had good service from InHealth, many (like you) have not. And, indeed, this is the company that is (still) due to be awarded the cancer-scanning contract in the Thames Valley region, despite the exception made for the Oxford hospitals, according to the article in the Guardian that I posted the link to yesterday. 

As it stands, it seems the Churchill will retain the scanners & that these will be operated by NHS staff, but the overall contract will be given to InHealth. And this raises a lot of questions about data protection & also about where the profits will go.

Like Hannen, I had also looked up InHealth on companies house, and been rather amazed to discover how many differently named private health companies are run by the 3 people listed as key. One is linked to 33 companies; one is linked to 52 companies; and one to 62 companies. Since a lot of these health companies seem to do rather similar things, I am assuming that they have been set up in this complicated way in order to minimise tax liabilities & the like. 

I'm not sure whether the company structure will be on the agenda at the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee of OCC that Liz mentions, but I really hope that somebody with more expertise than me can do some detective work in advance of that meeting!

Hannen Beith

Thu 28 Mar, 09:43

Please see:

Hannen Beith
👍 1

Thu 28 Mar, 09:36 (last edited on Thu 28 Mar, 09:37)

"Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few."

Good news indeed, but I suspect that the battle for the NHS is by no means over.

Last year I was referred by my GP for a 24 hour cardiac wiring up thingy.  It turned out that the wiring was done in Bicester in a shop unit, by an outfit called In Health.  Very confusing as I had assumed that (along with 3 or 4 others) that it would be at the Bicester Health Centre (NHS).  No - this is a private outfit, just near Sainsbury's.

Anyway the staff seemed very competent and once I had parked in the Sainsbury's car park (free!) and telephoned the In Health people to pinpoint their exact location (next to Sports Direct), armed with my Smartphone navigation app I was able to find it without too much trouble, although I did have to ask a passer by where Sports Direct was.

None of this, incidentally, very good for someone with a suspected heart condition!

I only had to wait a couple of minutes (mind you I was late due to the shenanigans) and then a very pleasant woman laced me up like a suicide bomber, (or so I imagine).  She asked me to return the equipment after 24 hours "whenever was convenient" for me.  So, I foolishly opted for the Sunday assuming that traffic would be light, which it wasn't.

I had all the wires and monitor in a plastic bag and returned to the shop unit only to find it was completely deserted.  I tentatively peeked into some of the treatment rooms.  Nobody.  The reception desk was not manned (or should I say "womanned") but the PC was on and there were records lying about.  So much for Data Protection.  

There was a scrap of paper on the desk which I confess I read.  A handwritten note, saying to the effect: "I came here this morning to return your equipment, but as there was no-one here I left after an hour and returned to Banbury.  Please call my mobile (number) to let me know when someone will be around so that I can deliver it."

Not very cheering, but I thought I'd hang about for half an hour and then follow suit.  After about 10 minutes a member of staff (I assume) came in.  She was very polite and pleasant.  I showed her the note.  Gave her the kit, and left.

About a week later I received the report from my JR Consultant Cardiologist, so clearly there is communication between In Health and the NHS.

I then made online enquiries at Companies House and discovered that In Health is a private Ltd Company.  It's Directors are Directors of all sorts of other companies .

Surely this is privatisation by stealth, and if you believe in a Nationally  owned NHS, be vigilant!

Liz Leffman
👍 1

Thu 28 Mar, 09:27 (last edited on Thu 28 Mar, 09:34)

It is also on the agenda, just published, for the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee to be held on April 4th at County Hall at 10 am.  Public are allowed time to speak at this meeting in case anyone wants to do that. You will need to apply in advance for a slot.

Christine Battersby
👍 4

Wed 27 Mar, 18:05

Good news: U-turn over plans to privatise cancer scanning services in Oxfordshire.

Ann Harper

Fri 22 Mar, 16:55

If the proposed outsourcing (privatisation) of NHS Scanning Services follows the pattern of the outsourced  Physiotherapy, BE VERY AFRAID!
Jon Carpenter
(site admin)
👍 3

Thu 21 Mar, 08:22

A possible change of mind...

Malcolm Blackmore
👍 1

Thu 14 Mar, 18:28

Subject: Cancer screening in Oxfordshire
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 2019 14:20:36 +0000

Dear ,

A cancer screening service in Oxford has just been sold to a private
company. [1] Local NHS doctors are raising the alarm. They say it will
mean worse care for cancer patients across Oxfordshire. [2]

It’s not too late to reverse this decision. The Health Secretary Matt
Hancock has the power to step in and stop the sale. But it will take a
huge public outcry to make him do it.

Local MPs and doctors are speaking out against the sell off. [3] If
thousands of us all over Oxfordshire sign a petition to Matt Hancock,
telling him to reverse the decision, he’ll know this isn’t going away
quietly. It could force him to act.

Dr, will you sign the petition telling Matt Hanock to stop this NHS
service being given to a private company? It only takes thirty


The NHS cancer screening service at Churchill Hospital in Oxford is
world-leading. [4] But it’s just been sold to a private company who
want to use it to turn a profit. Doctors say that this decision could
cause harm to patients. [5]

But together we can reverse this. It will take thousands of us to get
involved, but a big enough public outcry could be enough to pressure
Matt Hancock to step in.

Will you sign the petition right now? 


Thanks for everything you do,

Mike, Ryan, Trish, Kieran and the 38 Degrees team

[1] The Guardian: Halt privatisation of cancer screening or risk
patient harm, MPs tell NHS England:
Oxford Mail: ‘Huge concern’ over loss of NHS cancer scans in Oxford:
[2] Banbury Guardian: Doctors and MPs join opposition to Churchill
Hospital cancer scanner privatisation:
[3] Oxford Mail: 'Extremely concerned': More reaction to NHS
outsourcing cancer scans:
Oxford Mail: ‘Huge concern’ over loss of NHS cancer scans in Oxford:
[4] See Note 1
[5] See Note 2
  38 Degrees wouldn’t exist without you. 38 Degrees has no big
donors or corporate sponsors. Everything we achieve together is only
possible because of fivers and tenners from ordinary people like you. 

Please will you consider chipping in a fiver, a tenner or whatever you
can spare now? Click here to donate securely:

Paul Rassam
👍 2

Thu 14 Mar, 08:45

Thank you, Christine, for this depressing but important bit of news, and for the useful link.   Perhaps Chris Grayling has been doing a bit of moonlighting at the Department of Health..

Christine Battersby
👍 3

Wed 13 Mar, 16:38 (last edited on Wed 13 Mar, 16:38)

Thanks, Liz. It's good to know that you are aware & that the Lib Dem group is acting on this.

It's still worth people going to the website and writing to or emailing the other 2 people suggested there. 

Liz Leffman
👍 3

Wed 13 Mar, 14:55

Thank you, Christine.  The Lib Dem group are aware of this and will be bringing it to the next HOSC meeting as this is a major change which should be scrutinised by that committee.

Christine Battersby
👍 4

Wed 13 Mar, 12:08 (last edited on Wed 13 Mar, 12:10)

In case people have not picked up on news that the Churchill Hospital in Oxford is about to have its Cancer Scanning facilities privatised & perhaps also removed, can I refer people to the following link:

The website explains that NHS England has decreed that PET scanning right across the South East should be put out to tender. PET (positron emission tomography) scanners are used in cancer care in the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the Churchill in Oxford. 

Oxford University Hospitals put in a bid to run its own NHS scanners (which work perfectly well at present). Despite being a Centre of Excellence & important for scientific and medical research, they lost the contract. This has instead been awarded to InHealth, a private, for-profit company, that has no scanners of its own, as yet no designated site for the scanners, with also a reduction in well-trained specialist staff. 

They also explain how the whole process has been conducted in a highly secretive fashion, and that Oxfordshire County Council was not consulted in the way that it should have been. There has been a small amount of press & news coverage, but not enough. The Brexit shenanigans seem to drive out news of everything else. 

As I know plenty of people in Charlbury who have used the NHS cancer services at the Churchill, & who feel reassured by being able to access the specialist teams at the JR & the linked Oxford hospitals, I thought it worth sharing the link. 

The website gives suggestions as to who to write to complain about the lack of public consultation -- and, sorry, Liz Leffman, but this probably means that, as our local representative on Oxfordshire County Council,  you may well get a lot of emails asking you to press for this to come before the Joint Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee at the OCC ! 

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