Natalie Bennett, South Camden coordinator for the Camden Green Party, writes:
I was at a strongly attended meeting of Camden Keep Our NHS Public tonight in Somers Town, with representatives from groups spread across the borough (and lots of concerned individuals).
The group is fighting now against the establishment of the so-called GP-led health clinic on the Hampstead Road, which threatens to destabilise existing GP surgeries in the area while providing a type of service patients have clearly indicated (at a number of very well-attended public meetings) they don’t want.
We learnt tonight that at similar privately run clinics, 90% of walk-in unregistered patients are seen by a nurse, and 50% of registered patients also only get to see a nurse at a visit when they’d normally be expecting to see a GP, which shows just how much of a misnomer the label is – and why patients are so concerned.
The main decision of the meeting was to indicate to the private company chosen to run the clinic the fact that Keep Our NHS Public plans to strongly campaign for patients in the catchment area to support their local GPs and decline to register at the new centre. Campaigns calling for a boycott of the centre will also be run in offices in the surrounding area.
We learnt that plans are well advanced for a legal action to stop NHS Camden (formerly the PCT) signing the contract with Care UK PLC, which it has announced as its chosen bidder (as the Ham & High has reported) – despite the fact that the public consultation on healthcare plans won’t even be finished until October.
We also heard that the funding of that legal action will require a “community contribution” into four figures. If you would like to make a donation, send a cheque payable to “Camden KONP Group” to the Treasurer, Barbara Saunders, 43 Foundling Court, Marchmont Street, London, WC1N 1AN. And indicate that the money is meant for the “community contribution”.