Campaigners rallied outside Wycombe Hospital and MP Steve Baker's office in protest over the latest NHS bill - branding it a "corporate takeover".

Protesters gathered outside Wycombe Hospital, then outside MP Steve Baker’s West Wycombe Road office, with banners and placards, calling on Mr Baker to vote against the legislation when it returns for further votes.

The NHS bill – or the Health and Care Bill, as it’s officially known -is currently making its way through Parliament but some parts of it have proved controversial.

A significant provision within the Bill is changes to competition rules which has caused concern over the level of private sector involvement within the health service.

It has prompted anti-privatisation campaigners to warn the Bill may allow contracts to be awarded to private healthcare providers without proper scrutiny and will allow private healthcare companies to sit on NHS boards and make key decisions about the care that NHS patients receive.

Campaigners, including former mayors Khalil Ahmed and Trevor Snaith, took to the streets of Wycombe on September 17 to show their support for the NHS New Deal instead, which sets out a vision for the NHS crowdsourced from patients and NHS service users.

Posters and banners featured slogans like: "Wycombe rejects NHS privatisation by stealth" and "Steve Baker, you clapped for the NHS, now you want to sell it off. Hypocrisy".

In July, MP Mr Baker voted in support of the government bill, but there are more votes expected in the autumn before it becomes law and campaigners hope they can build enough pressure to defeat the government.

Christian Wheatley, from High Wycombe, who joined the protest, said: “Our NHS has been plagued with tens of thousands of vacant staff positions, appallingly low levels of patient satisfaction, increasingly long wait times and continued attempts to privatise elements of the NHS.

"The NHS New Deal represents the shot of adrenaline needed to save the NHS from collapse. With its focus on funding new facilities, giving staff the wages they deserve, increasing levels of patient satisfaction and eliminating corporate influence.

"The New Deal will aid immensely in fixing the NHS and leading it into a bright and hopeful future.”

The protest was part of a national day of action coordinated by Just Treatment, a patient-led healthcare campaigning group.

Amanda Whyte, from High Wycombe, who helped to organise the protest, said: “I’ve been concerned for many years about the corporate creep within the NHS.

“Outsourcing health and social care to private companies unfortunately tends to mean that profit is put ahead of patients, and leads to a lack of joined-up care.

"Many GP practices are now owned by large corporations – for example, American health insurance giant Centene owns a total of 70 GP surgeries and practices in the UK, including one in neighbouring Great Missenden.

"It’s no coincidence that it can be a struggle to get a face-to-face appointment with a GP, as there are currently just 0.46 GPs per 1,000 patients in England.

"This is clearly ridiculous, but it’s what happens when profit is prioritised over patient care.

“This corporate creep within our NHS will only get worse if the Health and Care Bill is passed.

"It’s unclear what, if any, benefits the Health and Care Bill offers to taxpayers and NHS users, so we need to kick it to the curb and focus on building an NHS that remains free at the point of use – forever – and offers joined-up treatment with reduced waiting times and the exemplary medical care for which the UK is rightly famous.

“We got over 200 signatures to our petition in Wycombe, in which people pledged to support the NHS New Deal. I contacted Steve Baker asking him to meet me to discuss this, but unfortunately, I did not receive a reply."

Steve Baker branded the protest a Wycombe Labour campaign that was "scaremongering and a distraction".

He told the Bucks Free Press: "The Labour Party has only just voted against more money for the NHS. Wycombe Labour’s campaign on our NHS is both scaremongering and a distraction to try to cover this up.

"Most patients just want good and quick treatment when they use the NHS, and I agree with them.

"Labour should remember it was Tony Blair who oversaw the biggest increase in private providers in this country’s health services."