19 August 2021
Since February this year, We Own It, Keep Our NHS Public, local campaigning groups and many of YOU have campaigned to get Centene, an American multinational corporation, kicked out of the 49 GP practices they recently took over in London.
And we’ve been making headway.
In April this year, together with Hammersmith and Fulham Save Our NHS (HAFSON), we managed to get the contract for a GP surgery in Hammersmith cut from 5 years to 2 years, with additional strict conditions for evaluating their performance.
And just yesterday, Monday 16th August, We Own It was informed by North Central London CCG that they were renewing Centene’s contract to run two Islington practices for JUST one year, instead of the usual five years.
This was after local pressure from We Own it and Islington Keep Our NHS Public as well as local councillors Anjna Khurana and Claire Jeapes. The two Islington MPs, Jeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry, also supported their constituents to oppose Centene’s presence in their communities.
Local, collective pressure works. And we will continue to pile on the pressure wherever Centene is involved.
Centene has no business in our healthcare. Research shows that GP practices run by private firms, like Centene, are worse for patients than practices run by GPs themselves.
And Centene’s track record is nothing to write home about. Here’s a sample of what they’ve been up to over the last few years here in England:
In 2018 in Harlow (West Essex), Centene abandoned a surgery they were running because it didn’t meet profitability targets. This led to the CCG closing down that surgery to much anger in the community.
On 31 March 2019, Operose Health Limited exited a contract to provide Children’s Mental Health Needs in Surrey.
On 30 June 2019 Operose Health Limited abandoned a further contract to provide Children and Families Health Services in Surrey.
The latest Centene disaster came on June 25th this year when government inspectors released a report that found that 3 Centene-run surgeries have been rated “Inadequate”, after being rated “Good” under the local GPs who previously ran them.
It seems clear that Centene’s involvement was a factor in the deterioration of the quality of services local people around the practices were getting.
The report on the three surgeries said that none of them could “demonstrate that clinical and non-clinical staff had the skills, knowledge and experience to carry out their roles”. It also found that “leaders could not demonstrate that they had the capacity and skills to deliver high-quality sustainable care.”
The three practices were found to be inadequate in terms of safety, effectiveness, responsiveness and being well-led. They failed their duty of care.
This is why Centene must not be allowed to run our local GP surgeries. Their track record shows that they are much more interested in extracting profit than they are in the health and wellbeing of our communities.
Our NHS was created to provide high-quality care at the point of need, for people, not for profit. The pursuit of profits should not be allowed to water down that service and put communities at risk.
We must keep up the fight. As this victory shows, we can win.