Ms Heather Mullin
North East London PCT
Dear Ms Mullin,
I am a resident of Hackney and am registered with a GP based at the Lawson Practice.
I attended a Health Scrutiny Committee on 6th February where was discussed your PCT’s last-minute decision to hand OOH care back to Harmoni rather than grant our GPs the running of their own thoroughly-developed, not-for-profit OOH service. As a Hackney resident, I had been delighted by our GPs plan to offer genuine continuity of care and I had considered myself fortunate to have such committed GPs.
Like most of the attendees of the Scrutiny meeting, I was deeply disappointed that this decision of the PCT’s had been reached, and also shocked at the timing of that decision fully two years after a lot of hard work from the GPs, and in the face of increasingly alarming and hard-to-ignore media reports on how Harmoni/Care UK and its owner, Bridgepoint Capital, conducts its work and arranges its tax affairs.
Harmoni/Care UK/Bridgepoint Capital is precisely the kind of “vulture fund”, profit-driven company that we residents of Hackney have very firmly decided that we do not want running our local health provision. At a public meeting of Hackney residents a few months ago, over two hundred people unanimously voted to request our CCG not to outsource any health services to companies such as these.
The HSCA supposedly was designed to ensure the prioritising of patient choice and GP-led commissioning. If these two key precepts are to be instantly put aside for fear of upsetting predatory investment companies, one has to conclude that the Act has become unfit for its original purpose. And if the patients are to be denied their choice and GPs are to be denied their autonomy, one must ask the question: exactly who is benefiting from the Health and Social Care Act?
I shall look into the legal ramifications of your decision from my point of view: I have no other option if I am to prevent the destruction of my local and national health service.