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NHS campaigners to challenge private takeover of London GPs

NHS patients and health campaigners will be challenging a decision to allow Centene’s private takeover of dozens of London GP surgeries in a two-day judicial review.

From Tuesday, the hearing at the London High Courts will aim to quash the decision by North Central London clinical commissioning group to approve the US corporation’s takeover via its British subsidiaries MH Services International Holdings (UK) and Operose Health Ltd.

The action is led by Islington councillor Anjna Khurana through a crowd-funding initiative.

Around 375,000 patients across London will be impacted by the decision.

The judicial review is supported by NHS campaigners from Keep our NHS Public (KONP), 999 Call for the NHS and Doctors in Unite.

Ms Khurana 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.

“We cannot allow this stealth privatisation of the NHS to carry on.”

KONP member and London GP Dr Louise Irvine said that the situation was “deeply worrying.”

She said: “When a large US corporation like Centene takes over this many GP practices we have to question their motive.

“In the US, [Centene] is sued regularly for fraud and malpractice and we do not need its profit-seeking behaviour dictating the quality of healthcare for patients and the working conditions for staff.”

999 Call for the NHS chairman Steven Carne warned that the decision to let the corporation become one of the largest primary care providers in England means that it could become “major players” in the new Integrated care boards created by the Health and Care Bill.

“Having American companies making key commissioning decisions about our NHS is not acceptable,” he said.

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