CAMPAIGNERS have penned a letter to health chief Andrew Lansley urging him to ditch radical plans to overhaul the NHS.

A coalition of leading figures fighting to protect north London hospitals, including the Whittington and Chase Farm, have expressed their “alarm and deep opposition” to plans outlined this summer by the Government.

The document, a White Paper issued by Mr Lansley, includes proposals to scrap primary care trusts like NHS Enfield and to put health care decision making into the hands of GPs.

But figures including Shirley Franklin and Katy Gold from the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition have put their names to the letter condemning the principles behind the changes.

It says: “The profound organisational changes proposed by the White Paper represent the most serious threat ever to the existence of the NHS.

“Despite the rhetoric of fairness, equality and mutuality, these proposals advocate a widespread privatisation of the health service, introducing a world where hospitals become businesses and where private companies compete in a potentially irreversible NHS market, effectively destroying the 1946 NHS Act.

“With no evidence that the proposals would produce financial savings, public money for health would end up in the pockets of shareholders rather than being spent on patient care, while billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money would be transferred to private companies, including huge multinational health corporations, many from the United States, with no public accountability.

“It is clear to us that the changes you advocate in the White Paper are so profound that they represent nothing less than the dismantling of the NHS as we know it, developing a U.S.-style market-based health system and leaving an NHS only in name.”

The strongly worded letter was issued ahead of the end of the consultation period into the White Paper, which ends on October 5.

The letter authors describe the consultation as “abhorrent”, saying there has not been meaningful consultation with the general public over NHS changes.

To read the letter in full, you can click here