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Patient safety fears as nearly 60 GP surgeries sold without NHS approval

PATIENT safety fears have been raised after a US health insurance giant sold off more than 50 GP surgeries to a private equity firm without NHS approval.

Operose Health has also been accused of breaches of contract law after the practices, mainly in London, were handed over to HCRG Care Group, formerly known as Virgin Care and owned by British private equity company T20 Osprey Midco, last December.

Local councillor Tammy Hymas, who is a patient at one of the sold-off surgeries, St Anns Road Surgery in Tottenham, north London, accused the investment firms of “looking to make a quick buck out of our NHS.” 

North Central London Integrated Care Board said last month that it had not been informed and nor had it gave permission for the takeover, which had not passed due diligence checks.

Keep Our NHS Public co-chairman Dr John Puntis said: “Such a sorry state of affairs leaves open major questions about patient safety and emphasises the need for the NHS to take general practices out of the control of big business.”

A spokesperson for Operose Health has said: “There has been a change of ownership at the ultimate parent company, as the previous owners required completion of the transaction.

"Patients will continue to be seen by the same practice teams and access care in the same way.

"Our main priority has, and will always be, providing our patients with high quality primary care."

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