Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Life and Death

No power for the people

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 14 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3735
  1. Iona Heath, general practitioner, London
  1. aque22{at}

    The public’s powerlessness to affect local policy in the NHS in England is profoundly depressing

    NHS Camden is the new name for Camden Primary Care Trust—a name that manages to be both misleading and megalomaniac. This most local outpost of the English Department of Health seems ever more intent on awarding successive contracts to private for-profit companies despite mounting opposition from residents and health professionals and in the complete absence of evidence of benefit for patients. In 2008 UnitedHealth UK was awarded the contract to run three general practices in Camden (BMJ 2008;336:412-3 doi:10.1136/bmj.39496.687245.DB), and since then every service put out to tender by NHS Camden has been awarded to a private provider. In August a new GP led health centre was offered to Care UK, even though the public consultation on NHS Camden’s primary and urgent care strategy will not be completed until October.

    This consultation is a travesty and provides a close and dispiriting encounter with the realities of accountability and transparency in today’s NHS. It begins by inviting agreement with a series of very broad local health priorities, which include reducing health inequalities and …

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