HUGE concerns have been raised over a proposal to strip an NHS trust of the contract to provide specialist cancer scanning services.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is understood to have lost the PET-CT scan contract. Hundreds of Swindon patients travel to Churchill Hospital in Oxford for treatment every year.

Private firm InHealth has won the contract with NHS England.

But the decision has drawn the ire of Swindon-based campaigners, who predicted that patients would suffer during any transition period.

South Swindon MP Robert Buckland, in whose constituency the Great Western Hospital is located, told the Adver he would be making enquiries into what impact any change in provider might have for patients.

He would be contacting the chairman of NHS England with any concerns.

And Coun Brian Ford, cabinet member for adults’ health at Swindon Borough Council, said he would be taking the matter up with the clinical commissioning group this week.

Their comments followed those of Anneliese Dodds, MP for Oxford East, who wrote to Lord Prior, chairman of NHS England saying there was “huge local concern” surrounding the scanning issues.

“This kind of privatisation without further public consultation led by the NHS is not just a concern for the citizens of Oxford but also for the provision of public health services in general,” she said in the letter.

“The matter was neither brought to the governors’ relevant committees to information about this potential risk to the existing scan service for patients, nor was any public information provided or the public consulted on the issue.

“Given the potential threats to the PET-CT-scan service provision at OUH, increase public scrutiny and consultation are imperative, as well as a pause in procurement until patient safety and other consequences are examined.”

OUH has two PET-CT imaging machines at Churchill Hospital.

The high-tech equipment provides a detailed 3D picture of cancerous tumours.

NHS England said the outcome of a national PET-CT scan drive would be announced in the coming weeks.

Oxfordshire councillors are understood to be so concerned about the impact of the service moving out of OUH’s hands they plan to grill NHS England at a scrutiny committee meeting next month.