Far right, Camden GP patient Ruth Ingram at Downing Street with vice-chairwoman of Westminster Local Medical Committee, Dr Anouska Hari, Dr Kambiz Boomla, treasurer of Londonwide LMCs Governance Board, and Barnet GP patients Linda and Stephen Critchley, with their twins.
NHS message goes to No10
A CAMDEN patient has delivered a 45,000-strong petition to Downing Street calling on the government to halt the use of private sector companies in the NHS. Ruth Ingram, a patient at the Camden Road Surgery that was taken over by the American health giant UnitedHealth in April, called for the government to reconsider its push towards commercialisation of general practice.
The 81-year-old said: “My surgery was taken over by UnitedHealth in April; three weeks later two doctors were summarily dismissed – one of them my very able and popular doctor who has worked in the group practice for more than 18 years. “Since all commercial companies have as their chief mission a need to make profits, it is inevitable that GP services will in future be driven by this motive, and will severely influence clinical judgment reflecting the quality of treatment for patients.”
The petition also called on ministers to reconsider replacing single-handed practices with larger surgeries, known as polyclinics.
Ms Ingram said: “At present surgeries are mostly within walking distance. In future, mothers with young children, the disabled and old will have to have transport provided should their surgeries be relocated to polyclinics.”
The petition is part of Londonwide Local Medical Committee campaign, Keep My NHS GP Local.
The petition reads: “We think the Department of Health should invest in local NHS GP surgeries and not give money away to private companies or waste it on expensive polyclinics.”