NHS privatisation fight continues

Unite vows to keep fighting NHS privatisation as judge dismisses ‘lack of consultation’ on US takeover of London GPs

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The campaign against the relentless tide of NHS privatisation will continue, despite a judicial review dismissing the campaigners’ case that there was a lack of patient consultation when GP practices in London were taken over by US health insurance giant Centene Corporation.

Doctors in Unite said today (February 24) that it was ‘deeply disappointing’ that this case was dismissed, but that it was even more imperative to campaign against the accelerating pace of NHS privatisation under the Johnson government.

Campaigners had argued at the High Court that there had been a lack of consultation with patients, following the takeover early in 2021 by Centene’s UK subsidiary Operose Health of the privately-owned AT Medics set up in 2004 by six NHS GPs and which runs 37 GP practices across London.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “Despite this deeply disappointing judgment the fight continues against the accelerating pace of privatisation of the NHS in England.  We must not allow our GP services to be hived off to profit-hungry private healthcare companies.

“Our members in the health service want to work for the NHS, not some private health business. Unite members, who use the NHS on a daily basis want their taxes to fund it, not to boost the profits of corporate boardrooms or line the pockets of their shareholders.”

Campaign organisations, including Unite, Keep Our NHS Public, 999 Call for the NHS and We Own It, spearheaded the campaign which saw the public donate generously so that the judicial review went ahead into the decision-making process by the North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Doctors in Unite chair Jackie Applebee added, “I would like to thank all the people who contributed to the crowd funding that enabled this judicial review to go-ahead – it was a massive exercise in democratic participation.

“While this is a set-back, it will make us be all the more determined to expose the misguided privatisation ideology that is undermining the founding principles of the NHS – that services are free at the point of delivery for all those in need.

“Campaigners will now consider the next steps in the campaign.”

Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers’ living standards.

By Shaun Noble

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