This week Camden’s Health Scrutiny Committee was once again faced with proposals by the Primary Care Trust to put Camden’s health services out to tender (in which private companies will almost inevitably be the preferred bidder).
Once again, seemingly in defiance of assurances made to the Scrutiny Committee, new proposals have come forward and the tender process has been set in train without any public consultation.
Ben Bradshaw, the former Health Minister had told the Scrutiny Committee that there would be no GP-led health centre without public consultation. But last week, Dr. Atkinson of the PCT told the Scrutiny Committee that the Health Minister had made contradictory comments to Parliament, recorded in Hansard, which meant that the PCT would have no power to respond to any consultation on the principle of whether we should have a GP-led health centre and the PCT intended to go by what was said to Parliament.
I was therefore delighted that my colleagues on the Scrutiny Committee agreed to my proposal to use our powers to refer the matter of these contradictory statements to the health minister. It is to be hoped that the PCT will now act in good faith and put the GP-led health centre proposals on hold until the minister has clarified the issue. Camden’s residents are entitled at least to that measure of respect.
The letter was printed in the Camden New Journal on October 1.