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Camden News - by TOM FOOT
Published: 26 November 2009
Now plans for the Euston super surgery shelved by NHS bosses

Eleventh-hour withdrawal of proposed GP-led flagship project ‘until summer’

HEALTH bosses have withdrawn proposals to open a flagship super surgery in Euston.
As revealed on our front page last week, NHS Camden had agreed to start a consultation programme with patients over their plans for the so-called “GP-led health centre” in St Stephenson House, Hampstead Road. An initial meeting was due to be held at the Town Hall tonight (Thursday).
But in a sudden change of heart, the discussion has been cancelled and plans for the surgery have been shelved.
Campaigners – who have fought the proposals to stop private firm Care UK being awarded the £20million contract to run the new surgery – are claiming victory
following the unexpected climbdown.
Chairman of Camden Keep Our NHS Public Candy Udwin said: “It shows that if you stick together and keep pushing you can win.”
NHS Camden only agreed to a full consultation – effectively the process of asking patients how they felt about it – after campaigners threatened legal action over a decision to open the super clinic with private operators.
Chief executive Dr Mark Atkinson announced a fortnight ago that a three month consultation would begin on December 1, adding: “You should in no way doubt my commitment or the commitment of the staff at NHS Camden to make this happen.”
But days after making that statement the scheme has been withdrawn and no update is expected until next summer.
Lib Dem councillor John Bryant, chairman of the council’s health and overview scrutiny committee, said: “It is my understanding that nothing will happen on this now until June. I can only speculate that NHS Camden has received guidance from the Department of Health to hold off on any decisions until after the election.
“There may be a change of policy if there is a new government with a different policy in primary care.”
The Government had told all Primary Care Trusts they must open at least one GP-led health centre to scoop-up patients from hospitals which are facing huge cuts to funding for some treatments.
In an unusual stance, NHS Camden last night (Wednesday) closed ranks and declined to comment on the latest development despite repeated calls from the New Journal.
Patients, doctors and politicians from all of the major political parties have been campaigning against the privatisation of Camden health services since American health giant UnitedHealth UK was awarded the contract to run three south Camden GP surgeries in April 2008.

• Keep Our NHS Public has called a public meeting in Dick Collins Hall in Regent’s Park on Monday from 6.30pm.

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