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High Court protest over takeover of Streatham surgeries by American conglomorate – South London News

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A takeover of GP surgeries by an American firm is being opposed by health campaigners who want to keep the NHS owned by taxpayers.

A judicial review in the High Courts challenged NHS Commissioners’ decision to allow Missouri-based Centene Corporation’s take-over of dozens of London GP Surgeries – three in Streatham are amongst those affected.

Edith Cavell, Streatham Place and The High at Gracefield Gardens would be run by Centene subsidiaries MH Services International Holdings (UK) and Operose Health Ltd if the buy-out goes ahead.

Streatham MP, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, a patient at one of the practices, came to support a protest outside the hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice on February 1.

The Judicial Review is being brought by Anjna Khurana, an NHS patient and Islington councillor. Ms Khurana is one of around 375,000 patients across London who were told nothing about this takeover of their GP surgeries until after the event.
She said: “Like everyone else, I want to feel I can rely on my GP to be on my side.  That is what we get with the NHS.  But without my knowledge, my surgery has been sold to a giant American healthcare company.  How can that be right? We cannot allow this stealth privatisation of the NHS to carry on.”
The court will rule whether, in making their decision, the NHS Commissioners acted unlawfully because they failed to give due consideration to the risk to patients, if the GP contracts they agreed to transfer to Operose Health turned out not to meet its parent company Centene’s profitability targets.
Gay Lee from Lambeth Keep Our NHS Public said: ‘The decision will also affect South East London patients as SE London Clinical Commissioning Group made the same decision as the North Central London one. General practice is suffering enough from Covid, from
underfunding, and from a shortage of GPs who are already exhausted. We certainly don’t want dubious private companies having to cut services further to increase their profits. GPs are being blamed for poor services but it’s not their fault. They are doing their best in the face of government cuts and this example of privatisation.”
South London GP Louise Irvine said: “Of course patients are worried. When a large American corporation like Centene takes over this many GP practices, we have to question their motive. In America they are sued regularly for fraud and malpractice and we do not need their profit-seeking behaviour dictating the quality of healthcare for patients and the working conditions for staff. It’s a deeply worrying situation and
I am delighted that the High Court has seen the important public interest in this case”.
Anjna’s Judicial Review is supported by a team of NHS campaigners from Keep our NHS Public, 999 Call for the NHS and Doctors in Unite, and has been made possible thanks to funding from members of the public, crowdsourced via the CrowdJustice website.

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