CAMPAIGNERS and health bosses in the county must now wait for the outcome of a hearing to find out if local services will be transferred outside the NHS.

Earlier this month plans by NHS Gloucestershire to transfer health services to a new social enterprise, Gloucestershire Care Services Community Interest Company (CIC), were postponed after a legal challenge by a Stroud pensioner.

On October 1 services such as district nursing, occupational therapy, and specialist domiciliary care, as well as Berkeley Hospital, Sandpits Clinic Dursley, and the Symn Lane Clinic in Wotton-under-Edge were supposed to be transferred to CIC.

However, local campaigner Michael Lloyd, 75 of Stroud and a member of the Stroud Against the Cuts group, made a legal challenge on the grounds that the transfer was unlawful and the beginning of the privatisation.

Chief Executive of NHS Gloucestershire, Jan Stubbings said the health authority had given formal notice of its intention to transfer services to CIC.

She said: "However, following this, Mr Lloyd has now formalised his legal challenge and I have agreed not to sign the contracts required to effect the transfer pending the outcome of a hearing."

Ms Stubbings said both parties had asked for an early hearing at the High Court in London to resolve matters as soon as possible.

She said: "Concluding the arrangements for the transfer is in the interests of patients and staff and will ensure service continuity and stability. Timely resolution of outstanding legal matters is also in the interests of the taxpayer and public funds."

Stroud Against the Cuts has organised a public meeting on Monday, November 7 (7.30pm) at the British School in Stroud for local NHS staff and members of the public to ask questions about the campaign and the legal case.