The scandal of the sub-postmasters victimized by the Post Office as a result of the defective Horizon computer system has had an enormous popular resonance. This is partly because the experience of being ignored, bullied and humiliated by the bureaucrats running our public services is so widely familiar.

In the Ham&High last month, I drew attention to the sudden pre-Christmas announcement that Haringey Council had suspended work on a pioneering project to provide care for frail elderly people with dementia and other problems on the site of the former Osborne Grove Nursing Home on Tollington Way. This was after months of silence and betrayed all the efforts of local people involved in co-designing this project.

Ham & High: Mary Langan has concerns about St Ann's Road surgery in TottenhamMary Langan has concerns about St Ann's Road surgery in Tottenham (Image: Luke Patrick Dixon Photography)

Proposals to transfer ownership of the GP surgery at St Ann’s Road in Tottenham from one private American corporation to another commercial operation suggest a similar indifference towards the public.

Formerly run by ATMedics, the surgery is currently owned by Operose (a subsidiary of Centene) which has more than 40 surgeries in London. Operose has apparently decided to sell out to HCRG Group Holdings (formerly Virgin Care). Though the 17,000 patients at the surgery have been offered a further consultation, many feel that their previous concerns over private ownership were ignored.

Last year, members of the patient participation group drew attention to a range of problems at St Ann’s Road.

They claim that the surgery has come to rely on part-time and locum GPs and a greater number of ‘physician associates’ (who have two years’ medical training).

Patients complain of a lack of continuity of care as a result of high staff turnover, poor communication by reception staff and difficulties in getting appointments with doctors or nurses. The surgery has fallen below national and local targets for screening and immunisation programmes.

The lesson from Mr Bates vs the Post Office is that when the little people find their voice, they will be heard. It is time the powers that be in North London started to listen.

  • Mary Langan is chair of Haringey Severe and Complex Needs Families Reference Group.