A private company will take over a Greenwich health service prompting campaigners to slam the ongoing ‘privatization of the NHS’.

Muscularskeletal (MSK) services will be run by Circle Health who last year ended their contract to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire early due to falling standards.

MSK disorders are any injury or disease relating to muscles, bones or joints and Circle Health have been awarded the five year contract to run the service for a population of around 276, 000.

The Greenwich branch of the Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) campaign group have criticized the decision.

Frances Hook, Chair of Greenwich KONP, said: “We have serious concerns on this contract.

“We do not believe full consultation has taken place, and we have not seen or heard any complaints of the quality of the services provided by Oxleas Trust.”

The campaign group have started a petition in an attempt to reverse the decision.

The petition states: “We call on Greenwich CCG to keep all NHS services in the public sector, and use NHS money for services not ending up in the pockets of shareholders.

“We therefore call for this decision to be rescinded.”

A spokeswoman for NHS Greenwich CCG said: “Greenwich CCG has been seeking to improve the quality of the musculoskeletal (MSK) services available in Greenwich for some years now.

“They recently completed an exercise to identify a clinical service provider to deliver an integrated MSK service to replace the fragmented provision of care currently offered.

“The contract to provide this service has been awarded to Circle Health after an open and thorough selection process instead.

“The purpose of the new service is to provide a more streamlined treatment and care for patients, with all MSK patients being directed through an integrated assessment service.

“This will reduce the need for patients to attend repeated visits to different services which we know patients find frustrating.

“All patients registered with a Greenwich GP with conditions that require physiotherapy or planned orthopaedic surgery will be referred into the service.

“The service will help people to access more specialised care for example operations such as hip and knee replacements when this is needed.

“Patients will continue to have a full choice of who will provide their hospital care as they do now.”

Circle Health declined to comment.