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Campaigners & Courts

Campaigners from across London and further afield

joined the team outside the Royal Courts of Justice

Tuesday 1st & Weds 2nd February 2022

It was a magnificent effort...

PRESS INFORMATION
4/February 2022

FOR A FULL REPORT FROM INSIDE THE COURTROOM
CLICK HERE

On February 1st a Judicial Review in the London High Courts challenged the North Central London NHS Commissioners’ (NCLCCG) decision to allow Centene Corporation’s take-over of dozens of London GP Surgeries, via its UK subsidiaries MH Services International Holdings (UK) and Operose Health Ltd.

The Judicial Review was brought by Anjna Khurana, an NHS Patient and Islington councillor. Anjna’s was 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.

 

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 before the hearing:

“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, one with a very poor reputation.  How can that be right? I needed to stand up and make my voice heard.  So many people have been in touch to let me know they support me that I know I am not alone.  We cannot allow this stealth privatisation of the NHS to carry on.”

After two intensive days of hearing evidence, Mrs Justice Hill thanked the legal teams and deferred her decision to allow time to consider the serious issues at stake. Her deliberation will take 4-6 weeks and will make a ruling as to whether the North Central London Commissioners acted unlawfully in three respects –

●    Misdirection - did they fail to consider all the implications of the take-over because they assumed they had no choice but to accept and approve the proposal?

●    Lack of due diligence  - did they fail to give due consideration to the risk to patients, if the GP contracts transferred to Operose Health turned out not to meet its parent company Centene’s profitability targets?

●    Lack of consultation/involvement - did they carry out any of their obligations to let the public know they were allowing the transfer of the GP Practices?

Anjna and her supporters are asking the London High Courts to quash the decision by North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group to approve the takeover of ATMedics GP surgeries and over 375,000 patients.


The Barrister for NCLCCG and NHS England, Fenella Morris QC, told the judge that she should not quash the decision as it would lead to a collapse in the patient services due to expensive and time-consuming  reprocurement. Adam Straw QC quickly corrected this claim and reassured Mrs Justice Hill that commissioners, not herself, would be the ones responsible for the actions taken as a conequence of a decision to make the change of control 'unlawful'.

 

Since the news broke that Operose Health are actually a UK subsidiary company of Centene, hundreds of patients, councillors and members of the public have written letters, protested outside surgeries and have made their feelings clear.

London GP Louise Irvine understands:

“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”.

Steven Carne, Chair of 999 Call for the NHS, is concerned about the wider implications of the take-over:

“London NHS Commissioners have allowed Operose/Centene to become one of the largest NHS Primary Care Providers in England. They could become major players in the new NHS ‘Integrated Care Boards’ that the Government are trying to create with their Health and Care Bill. Having American companies making key commissioning decisions about our NHS is not acceptable."

Now Anjna and the legal team at Leigh Day wait for the decision. It is estimated that deliberation will take 4-6weeks. Anjna's Barristers’s were Adam Straw QC from Doughty St Chambers and Leon Glenister from Landmark Chambers.

For more information contact the support team - challengeohl@gmail.com


 

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Get Centene Out - The JR

Find out more about the case and why NHS Patients crowdfunded, demanding that the USA Corporate Giant is told to GET OUT of London GP Surgeries.

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INSIDE THE COURT

Read an account of proceedings by PAWire lead Tom Pilgrim & Sophie Goodall

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Contact Us

Talk to one of the team to answer any further questions or ideas