Rcent Brent demonstration against takeovers
The take over of GP's surgeries by US company Centene, including three in Brent, has been covered on Wembley Matters. LINK Now a legal challenge has been launched and I hope readers will contribute.
Help us to stop the takeover of GP Surgeries by the giant American corporation Centene!
Centene (through its UK company Operose Health Ltd) has taken over dozens of GP surgeries in London including eight contracts in Camden, Islington and Haringey. Hundreds of patients, councillors and members of the public have written letters, protested outside surgeries and have made their feelings clear. We do not want our GP practices taken over by large profit-seeking American corporations.
The decision to allow the takeover of the GP surgeries with over 375,000 NHS patients on their lists, was taken by the Clinical Commissioning Groups who are responsible for commissioning General Practice services for patients.
Following public outcry, a patient at one of the affected practices has decided to challenge the decision of her local CCG (North Central London) in court. Ms Anjna Khurana is a local councillor, representing Tollington Ward, and is a patient at Hanley Primary Care Centre in Islington.
“I am so afraid that our NHS is being dismantled bit by bit, with the private sector playing a bigger and bigger part. The NHS belongs to all of us and it is wrong that it should be run to achieve private profit rather than for the good of everyone. I also worry that my personal NHS medical data will be used by Operose for purposes that I have not been informed about or agreed to.
I need to trust my doctor, and how can I do that if they work for a company like Centene? A company that has a record of fraud in the US. I am taking this court action not only for me but for all of us, because we all feel the same about the NHS. Please help me to make this happen.”
Anjna is right to be worried. It's clear that the Centene/Operose Health business model is built around profits not patient care.
This statement, from public accounts of the UK parent company behind Operose Healthcare, makes it very clear :
"Position at 31 December 2019 and future developments ... Rationalisation of our business activities… Has continued into 2020, as the business seeks to divest of activities that have not met profitability targets. As a result, on 31 March 2019, Operose Health Limited exited the Surrey Borders Partnership NHS Trust CAMHS contract, and on 1 July 2019, Operose Health (Group) UK Limited divested its complex care division, including the contracts and related assets."
From this statement it's also clear this is not just about London GP Surgeries. Operose Health Ltd have already taken over twenty other GP surgeries across England. The corporate takeover of NHS services can happen anywhere in the country.
This case affects all of us.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Please help to raise £25,000 - £30,000 so that Anjna can bring the case to the Court. This target is on the assumption that the judge will award 'capped costs' because this is a case of vital public interest.
£25K is to cover the 'capped costs'. When the lawyers ask the Judge for permission to bring the Judicial Review, they will ask for this limit to the amount Anjna would have to pay to NCL CCG’s lawyers, if she were to lose the Judicial Review.
This is the only way Anjna can afford to bring the case to court.
The additional £5K is towards the costs of court fees, solicitors and barristers who are working hard already in presenting Anjna’s case for consideration.
We're sure you can see the public interest in this Judicial Review. Your support will be invaluable. Please contribute whatever you can and share this page now!
NOTE: Should it transpire that a judge says there are no grounds to proceed to Judicial Review, in accordance with CrowdJustice's Terms and Conditions, we will donate any unused funds to another similar legal challenge, via Crowd Justice or the Access to Justice Foundation.
THE DECISION SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN MADE
The hope is that the courts will judge that North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group acted unlawfully in making their decision and that the decision will be quashed. Certainly the process was carried out with little regard for public consultation and certainly no involvement of registered patients.
London GP, Louise Irvine, of Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) said: "The NHS Constitution demands transparency and people rightly expect transparency and accountability in NHS decision-making especially about such important matters as who runs our GP practices, and their suitability to be trusted with our health care and our personal health data."
Like Anjna, the public would hope and expect proper patient and public engagement about what kind of people or organisations should get the contracts to run our GP surgeries in the future. The public don't want to see good NHS GP surgeries taken over by companies who do not share a belief in the ethics of comprehensive healthcare for everyone regardless of wealth or status.
Cat Hobbs, CEO of We Own It agrees: "Our NHS belongs in public hands, working for patients not profit. People don't want health insurance giants like Centene taking over GP surgeries. We fully support Anjna and her incredibly important fight for our NHS."
This legal challenge is an important step in stopping more corporate takeovers of the NHS. It also demands transparency and accountability from Clinical Commissioners in the future.
Steven Carne of 999 Call for the NHS said: “What is most worrying is that the failure of the various CCGs to carry out proper scrutiny means they've allowed a multi-million dollar American corporation to hold a major position within the NHS infrastructure. And the people who will suffer are the patients who, of course, were told nothing."
THE PROCESS AHEAD
We are working with solicitors Leigh Day and barristers Adam Straw QC from Doughty St Chambers and Leon Glenister from Landmark Chambers.
Anjna's claim has to be submitted to the High Court and a judge will decide whether the case can continue to a full Judicial Review. We are asking for capped costs because this is the only way Anjna can bring this case. A case that is of huge public interest.
If the Courts grant approval and agree capped costs, we will then proceed to a full Judicial Review hearing.