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Polyclinic courts Branson
A NORTH London paper, Camden New Journal, reports that health chiefs at Camden Primary Care Trust (PCT) secretly 'courted' a private company, Branson's Virgin Healthcare, to run a supersize polyclinic at University College London Hospital.
The PCT supported a deal that would shut down four local practices in Bloomsbury, end plans to open a state-of-the-art maternity ward and transfer over 50,000 Camden patients onto the books of a profit-making company.
The paper comments: "It has long been feared the new polyclinics were developed with private operators in mind, but not until now has the scale of efforts to bring them in been known."
Although Virgin directors turned down this offer, these talks took place. As the Camden New Journal says, it shows that "private companies are being primed for major roles in running the borough's health services.
And with it has come concerns that those in charge of the new polyclinics will ultimately be answerable to shareholders rather than patients."
In The Socialist 16 July 2008:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party campaigns
Workplace news and analysis
The Socialist Comment
Socialist Party review