This week, I joined local campaigners to oppose the sell-off of Streatham GP surgeries to American healthcare giant Centene. The protest was part of a national day of action co-ordinated by campaign groups and trade unions including Keep Our NHS Public, We Own It and Doctors in Unite. Operose Health, a subsidiary of US-based Centene acquired London’s largest healthcare provider AT Medics in October last year, taking over 49 GP surgeries and more than 370,000 patients in the Greater London area. Twenty of these are in South London and include three Streatham GPs – the Edith Cavell Surgery, Streatham High Practice and Streatham Place Surgery.
The sell-off of Streatham GP surgeries is part of a bigger programme of stealth privatisation which the government has been pushing through during the pandemic. This takeover would be a real threat to accountability in particular. Our surgeries are never going to be safe in the hands of far-off US healthcare giants like Centene, whose need to make profit for shareholders will always trump the quality of patient care. From PPE shortages to the failure of our privatised test and trace system, we’ve seen what happens when essential public services are sold off to companies for private gain, often to people with close ties to government.
Sign We Own It’s petition here to stop the sell-off of Streatham GP surgeries: https://weownit.org.uk/act-now/stop-sell-49-gp-practices