I’ve had lots of constituents get in touch sharing my alarm at the sell-off of some London GP practices to the US Company Centene. I raised this in Parliament last week but it’s an issue I’ve been following for some time and also raised with North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group at my most recent meeting.
Whilst none of the GP practices affected are in Hornsey & Wood Green, one is in Haringey and I’m extremely concerned about this stealth privatisation – not only for this particular case but what it means for the future.
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth has already raised this matter in Parliament, calling on Matt Hancock to step in, stop this sale with no public consultation or scrutiny and prevent any future such transfers. Disappointingly Hancock refused to give that commitment.
I’ve also been in contact with Haringey Council about what’s happened. Their Cabinet Member for Health, Cllr Sarah James, working with other affected local authorities, has requested that any changes to the control of GP surgeries in the future are published in advance and circulated to the relevant local authorities and to the Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Frustratingly the Health & Social Care Act brought in under the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition Government allows for “any willing provider” to undertake primary care work, and situations like this are exactly what we feared. I’ll continue to follow this very closely, as will Labour’s Shadow Health Team, as it raises serious questions for patient care, staff conditions and the future of our precious health services.