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PCT faces High Court over contract award

By Gareth Iacobucci

A PCT is facing a High Court battle over its decision to award a GP-led health centre to private firm Care UK.

Residents have begun legal action against NHS Camden over an alleged lack of consultation on the centre.

Legal firm Leigh Day and Co has issued an application for Judicial Review on behalf of claimant Bob Austin, a former councillor backed by anti-privatisation campaigners.

The case centres on a consultation document recently issued by the trust about its GP services, which included information about plans for a GP-led health centre.

The consultation was not due to finish until October but the PCT announced on 31 July that Care UK had been selected to run the clinic.

Opponents of the new centre, which will be located close to Euston station, believe it could lead to the closure of local GP practices and are demanding a full consultation.

Candy Udwin, chair of the Camden Keep Our NHS Public campaign group, said: ‘The consultation has been a sham. The PCT has chosen the site, awarded the contract and started advertising for staff before the consultation has even closed.'

Dr Mark Atkinson, NHS Camden chief executive, said the trust would ‘rigorously defend' itself against the accusations.

‘No legal case has yet been lodged at the High Court. If that happens, NHS Camden will rigorously defend Camden patients' rights to expansion of local GP services.'

The PCT also found itself at the centre of controversy over an APMS tender in 2008, when it awarded three local GP practices to UnitedHealth, despite a rival GP bid being rated higher for planned service provision.

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