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Londonwide LMCs demands rethink over Darzi centre private contract

By Steve Nowottny

GP leaders in London are demanding that NHS Camden rethink its decision to award the contract for a new GP-led health centre to private company Care UK.

They warned there is 'no evidence' that the PCT 'has effectively or meaningfully consulted with the people of Camden', and urged trust bosses to reconsider, claiming the centre is not the best use of resources or most effective way to provide care.

In an open letter to the PCT's chair, Dr Paddy Glackin, medical director of Londonwide LMCs, said local GPs had concerns about the scoring system used to award the contract, as well as the extent of public consultation.

It comes as the Keep Our NHS Public campaign group mulls whether to press ahead with a legal challenge to the contract award.

The anti-privatisation campaigners, supported by local GPs and patients, sent a 'letter before action' to the PCT on behalf of a local pensioner earlier this month.

They have now received a response from the PCT and are discussing with solicitors whether to proceed with the challenge.

In the letter released today, Dr Glackin said: 'We have seen no evidence that the PCT has effectively or meaningfully consulted with the people of Camden about whether they feel that opening a GP-led health centre would be the best and most effective manner of spending money to improve their care. We seriously doubt whether this is the best use of scarce NHS resources.'

'Given the PCT's repeated failure to consult adequately with the local community we call on the PCT board, its executive and non-executive directors, to reconsider its decision to award the contract at this time and to ensure that adequate meaningful consultation with the local community occurs in all future tendering processes.'

Dr Glackin added: 'We have concerns about the scoring system used by the PCT, which gives no weighting to local knowledge or experience. We believe that organisations and individuals with a proven track record of providing high quality clinical services to the people of Camden should have had some recognition of that fact. '

And he also raised concerns about whether the new centre – near Euston and St Pancras stations – would be used more by commuters and walk-in patients than by local patients.

A spokesperson for NHS Camden said: 'Unfortunately we have not yet officially received this letter from the LMC. However, if the contents are the same as the text sent to the newspaper, then we are very surprised at the LMC's views.'

'Throughout the tendering process for the GP led health centre, a representative from the LMC was involved, taking an active role in the decision-making process, and they raised no concerns with process or the final outcome.'

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