Socialist Worker

Centene grabs GP surgeries, and its former boss is advising Johnson

Issue No. 2749

Protest at the Trowbridge surgery in Hackney, east London

Protest at the Trowbridge surgery in Hackney, east London (Pic: Keep Our NHS Public)


Tory claims to have ended NHS privatisation are in tatters. It was revealed last week that the head of a key private health firm is now a top adviser to Boris Johnson.

Samantha Jones was until recently a boss at Openrose Health—owned by US health insurance giant Centene Corporation.

As Socialist Worker previously reported, Centene took over scores of NHS GP surgeries through its British subsidiary Openrose Health earlier this year.

Campaigners fear that surgeries will now be staffed in the cheapest way possible, with regular doctors replaced by locums, and cheaper medical staff.

Fraud

Now it appears that the firm, which has faced a number of fraud and corruption law suits in the US, has got just what it needed. They have someone in the heart of government who could give them more access to the NHS.

Just weeks ago health secretary Matt Hancock revealed planned changes to the NHS he said would put an end to the 30-year era of health service privatisation.

But campaigner Allyson Pollock told the Camden New Journal newspaper that Jones’s appointment showed that the government’s “direction of travel is clear”.

“The government is fully committed to the full privatisation of our health services and remodelling services along US lines,” she said.

“Major changes are being pushed through, making it easier for US and other corporations to take control of our health services.

“This is all being done under the cover of Covid-19 and with no scrutiny by parliament.”


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