CAMPAIGNERS are calling for drug and alcohol services in Brighton and Hove to continue to be run by the NHS.

The city council has put substance misuse services out to tender after carrying out a review and redesign.

The city's range of support and treatment had previously been run by the NHS and several different agencies.

A decision on the new contract is expected to be announced shortly. Unison members from the Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, who work in the city, are petitioning the council to keep the service they provide within the NHS.

They have joined forces with the Sussex Defend the NHS campaign group and will be lobbying members of the council’s health and wellbeing board at their next meeting.

Branch communications officer Nick McMaster said: “We oppose the tendering out of this service as this is a process that promotes the privatisation of the NHS.

“By keeping this successful, award winning drug and alcohol service within the NHS, the council will not only protect a valued institution for future generations, but help protect the pay and conditions of loyal NHS staff who are also Brighton and Hove taxpayers.

“We urge the public to write to their councillors to keep the pressure on our council to save the NHS for patients, for staff, for everyone.”

Brighton and Hove director of public health, Tom Scanlon, said: “The proposed new service is much more focused on recovery from addiction than the current service is and it has incorporated the ideas that came from the stakeholder engagement.

“Local clinicians from primary care including homeless services have been closely involved in assessing the bids.

“The current focus is to ensure maximum public health gain with a service that provides high quality at a competitive cost, with additional social value without any significant service disruption as a result of the retender.”

A petition will be presented to the meeting on September 9.