Operose Health—a subsidiary of US insurance company Centene – has acquired AT Medics, which operates 37 GP practices across London. This will add to the 21 GP practices it already runs throughout England.
This takeover happened without any patient consultation or public scrutiny and there are understandable concerns that this represents a stealth privatisation, with potentially huge implications for patient care and the control of US medical corporations over the UK’s healthcare sector.
I support calls for the Government to intervene to block this takeover, which is expected to create the largest private supplier of GP services in the UK.
I have written to Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and asked him to intervene and I have posted a copy of this letter below for you to see.
On a more general note, I share concerns that private sector involvement in NHS services has created a fragmented and marketised system, which prevents proper integration of care and wrongfully includes profit in our healthcare system.
The Government has published a White Paper on the future of health and care. It includes plans to repeal many aspects of its 2012 Health and Social Care Act, which introduced competitive tendering and was criticised for increasing private involvement in the NHS.
I have consistently been opposed to the Act on the grounds that it has fragmented services, undermined the principles of the NHS as a comprehensive and universal healthcare system, and entrenched private involvement in the NHS.
I will scrutinise forthcoming legislation in this area closely and press Ministers to ensure any reorganisation delivers the standards of care patients deserve, supports NHS and care staff and undoes the damage that the 2012 Health and Social Care Act caused.
In the meantime, the Government should step in to halt the transfer of GP practices to Centene and prevent takeovers like this happening in the future.