Health changes are a pot of gold for speculators

The Camden NHS controversy is spreading up to Hampstead, with a first public airing planned for the changes being imposed by the borough s Primary Care Trust. Local chemists are worried about the Royal Free setting up in business as a pharmacy – or invit

The Camden NHS controversy is spreading up to Hampstead, with a first public airing planned for the changes being imposed by the borough's Primary Care Trust.

Local chemists are worried about the Royal Free setting up in business as a pharmacy - or inviting in a big name firm. They've welcomed campaigners worried that even a GP-led and surgery-based polyclinic may have other consequences as the prospective 'foundation' Royal Free pushes its market powers.

Small changes they might seem, but the really big money is moving in. Readers of the financial pages at the weekend amidst the shock/horror stories may have noted that private equity groups have declared that they are going into primary health care. They are after a stake of £1.25 billion.

And there's a pot of gold of taxpayers' money amounting to £250 million a year to help them do it! Already American private equity group KKR owns Boots Alliance, so watch out!


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Readers wanting to know more about a fundamental process of change being shoe-horned by the Camden PCT might want to hear speakers on the local polyclinic proposal, the future of the out-of- hours CAMIDOC and the knock-on effects on chemists and other medical services.

Camden's branch of Keep the NHS Public is hosting the first public discussion about all this at Fleet Community Centre on Wednesday September 24 at 7.30pm.

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While local by-election candidates haven't been invited as such, maybe they will want to make their voices heard. They certainly know about it: we've been leafleting South End Green alongside the party groups to make sure these important issues get the airing they deserve.

Regan Scott

Camden Keep the NHS Public Campaign Lyndhurst Road, NW3

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