THE gloves were off – and the masks on – at a health meeting yesterday as campaigners made an impassioned appeal to halt changes to the NHS.

Brandishing a giant postcard for Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt calling for an end to NHS cuts, members of Keep Our NHS Public held a rally before the Oxfordshire Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee met in County Hall.

It comes as the consultation on Phase One of an ‘Oxfordshire Transformation Programme’ to streamline the NHS, which could see 200 beds closed and acute care centralised, comes to an end this Sunday ahead of consulting on Phase Two in summer.

In the group’s formal response to Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which is running the consultation, chairman Dr Ken Williamson, a retired GP, said: “From the outset, this ‘consultation’ is flawed and split.

“Phase One... will deliver only cuts and confusion for the people of Oxfordshire. We deserve better.”

HOSC itself has also raised a litany of concerns about the plans.

Members of the public have until the end of this weekend to comment on the proposals, which could see the landscape of the NHS permanently altered in Oxfordshire to address a £134m funding black hole by 2020.

The CCG has insisted it will ‘listen to feedback from everyone who gets involved’ before a final decision is made.