MORE than 800 people have signed a petition calling on a new health authority to halt further privatisation of the NHS.

Around 20 campaign leaders presented the 844-name petition to bosses from the North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group (NDCCG) at Antioch House, on Crossgate, Durham City, today (Wednesday, January 9).

Their letter says: “We are extremely concerned about the risks posed by further privatisation of the NHS.

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“We feel this potentially undermines and threatens the basic principles of the NHS.

“Practically we believe that private firms will be bound to cut the quality and quantity of services in order to skim off their profit.”

NDCCG will take over commissioning, or buying, most NHS services across north Durham on April 1. It is a group of 31 GP practices.

Dr Kate Bidwell, its clinical chair and a Lanchester GP, said: “We absolutely agree (with the petition). We are all members of the NHS. We have worked in it for many years. We want to keep the NHS free at the point of delivery.”

The petition handover was followed by a question-and-answer session between campaign leaders and NDCCG officials.

For more information on 38 Degrees, visit For further details on NDCCG, visit