With concern mounting among local residents, Westminster Labour Councillors have demanded an explanation from the Central London and the North West London Clinical Commissioning Groups about how the Randolph Surgery GP Practice was sold to a US healthcare giant without any consultation or notice given to patients.
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When a GP practice changes ownership, the contract is normally handed back to the relevant Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which then starts the process of finding a different company to run the practice. This happened in 2019 at the Randolph Surgery when the contract was given to AT Medics, with the full participation of the patient reference group. This time however, AT Medics has been acquired by a business called Operose Ltd which is a subsidiary of the $35 billion Centene Corporation based in St Louis, Missouri. This manoeuvre allows Centene to avoid a procurement process or any public scrutiny. For now, this affects only one GP practice in Westminster, although the takeover affects 370,000 patients across London.
When asked about this stealth privatisation in Parliament, the Conservative Government made it clear that they have no objection, and so presumably they would be equally happy if every GP Practice in the country was sold off to the highest bidder in this way.
Councillor Nafsika Butler-Thalassis, Labour’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: “I have written to North West London CCG to ask them to clarify how this could be done without any patient consultation or even notice to the patients directly affected. Whatever legal loophole may have been found in this case, the way this has been handled goes against the principles of ‘No decision about me without me’. People have a right to know which organisation provides their care and has access to their data and medical records. They are not supposed to find out from the news.”
Councillor Adam Hug, leader of Westminster Labour Group, said “This is yet another example of the Conservative Government’s cavalier attitude to outsourcing and its creeping corporate takeover of the NHS.”
Labour Councillors have written to the North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups urging that they change course.
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