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PCT threatened with legal action over Darzi centre

By Gareth Iacobucci

The Keep Our NHS Public campaign group are threatening NHS Camden with legal action over an alleged lack of consultation on a new GP-led health centre in north London.

The anti-privatisation campaigners, supported by local GPs and patients, are demanding that the PCT suspends its plans for a new Darzi centre near Euston station, pending a full local consultation.

Legal firm Leigh Day and Co have served the trust with a letter before action on behalf of a local pensioner, Willibald Davies, which claims the PCT have not consulted adequately on the procurement, and should immediately cease the process until a full local consultation has taken place.

Opponents to the new centre, which will be run by private firm Care UK, believe it could lead to the closure of local GP practices in the area.

The controversy centres on a consultation document recently issued by the trust about the future of Camden's GP services, which included information about the GP-led health centre.

Although the consultation is not due to finish until October, the PCT announced on 31 July that Care UK had beaten local GPs to run the clinic.

Local campaigners have also threatened to organise a public boycott of any new clinic if their demands for a full consultation period are not met.

The latest battle is the second time in as many years the PCT has found itself at the centre of controversy over an APMS tender. In 2008, the trust was heavily criticised for awarding three local GP practices to US-giant United Health, despite local GPs being rated as offering substantially better services.

Camden was also one of two north London trusts which held secret talks with private providers including Virgin Healthcare about running the country's first fully-fledged polyclinic before the public had been consulted.

Rob Larkman, NHS Camden Chief Executive, said: 'Since 2007 NHS Camden has made clear our desire to increase access to GP services for the people of South Camden, one of the most deprived areas of the borough. By the end of 2009 a brand new health centre with a brand new GP practice will open offering local people world class health care, at times convenient for local residents.'

'It is incorrect to suggest that we are presently subject to a Judicial Review. No case against NHS Camden has been lodged with the courts'.

GP-led health centre Letter before action Read the letter pending legal action

To read the letter from the legal firm click here

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