Socialist Worker

Camden NHS campaign stops private GPs threat

by Tom Walker
Issue No. 2179

Health bosses in Camden, London, have been forced to shelve plans to hand a health centre over to a private firm.

Campaigners in Camden Keep Our NHS Public have declared victory after a battle with the local health trust over the plans.

They organised dozens of meetings, a march through Camden Town and the victorious legal challenge, which was launched with money raised locally by the campaign.

The council will now have to ask patients whether they want the £20 million private centre at all.

Candy Udwin, chair of Camden Keep Our NHS Public, said, “The threat of legal action has won the right for local people to be consulted over setting up this clinic. It shows what people power can do.

“We still have a big battle on our hands to stop more private companies taking over local doctors’ surgeries and to make sure we get the improvements to our NHS that we want.”

Campaigners are now stepping up the pressure against plans for the clinic, which NHS Camden want privateers Care UK to run.

Care UK’s directors include a former chair of the Venture Capitalist Association and a former managing director of investment bank Merrill Lynch.

The campaign points out that the private clinic would take patients from nearby surgeries, possibly forcing some to close.

The government is demanding that every area should have one of these so-called “GP-led” health centres, which allow private companies to bid to run GP services.

But the Camden campaign has set a precedent. People can now launch legal challenges in every area where the contracts have not yet been signed.

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Tue 24 Nov 2009, 18:05 GMT
Issue No. 2179
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