A patient has applied for a judicial review into the awarding of dozens of NHS GP contracts to Operose, a subsidiary company of a US healthcare giant.
Earlier this year, Operose Health, a subsidiary of US healthcare firm Centene, acquired 58 GP practices across England, including 37 based in London following a controversial takeover of the sites from previous owners AT Medics.
The patient bringing the review set up a crowdfunding page to meet the costs of the legal challenge against NHS North Central London CCG. Titled ‘Stop our GP practices being sold off to Centene USA’, it has almost reached the extended target of £40,000.
Leigh Day solicitor Anna Dews, who is representing the client bringing the case, told Pulse that it has applied for permission to obtain a judicial review on four grounds, which includes ‘the lack of any engagement or involvement with patients’ by the CCG.
The other grounds include arguing that the CCG ‘didn’t take into account’ the financial situation of Operose Health and its family companies, another stating it did not establish how patient data would be transferred to Operose Health and its ‘potential use’ by Centene, and around the ‘statutory test’ employed by the CCG in deciding whether or not to give permission for the takeovers.
Ms Dews added that a judge will consider the arguability of the legal threshold at this stage, and that if successful, the applicants will ‘proceed to a hearing where the legality will be looked at’.
Prior to the takeover, Operose Health ran 21 APMS GP practices across London, Nottingham, Birmingham, Leeds, Luton and several other parts of England, but the deal now makes it the largest provider of GP services in the country, with 530,000 patients.
On the crowdfunding page, the patient bringing the case, Ms Anjna Khurana, said: ‘I am so afraid that our NHS is being dismantled bit by bit, with the private sector playing a bigger and bigger part. The NHS belongs to all of us and it is wrong that it should be run to achieve private profit rather than for the good of everyone.’
NHS North Central London CCG told Pulse: ‘We are committed to offering residents high quality, safe and accessible care. The same high quality services will continue to be delivered by the same staff at AT Medics practices to residents across North Central London.’
Pulse has approached Operose Health for comment.