Questions over 'creeping corporate takeover' of Maida Vale GP practice

The Randolph Surgery

The Randolph Surgery - Credit: Google

Concerns have been raised about the takeover of a Maida Vale GP practice by a private US health insurance company. 

AT Medics, which runs the Randolph Surgery in Elgin Avenue, has been taken over by Operose Health, the UK subsidiary of American health insurance giant Centene Corporation.   

Centene, which had a revenue of $111 billion in the US in 2020, now has control of the NHS-funded contracts to run a total of 58 surgeries, including the 37 of AT Medics. 

Critics say this move has allowed Centene to avoid a procurement process of public scrutiny and consultation.  

Cllr Nafsika Butler-Thalassis, Westminster Labour’s shadow cabinet member for health, said: “Whatever legal loophole may have been found in this case, the way this has been handled goes against the principles of ‘No decision about me without me’. 

“People have a right to know which organisation provides their care and has access to their data and medical records.” 

The merger will affect half a million UK patients, a move which Westminster Labour leader Cllr Adam Hug called a “creeping corporate takeover of the NHS”. 

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A spokesperson for the North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “CCGs must act within the law when taking decisions on contracts.

"There was no legal or contractual basis for the CCG to reject the transfer of control of AT Medics Ltd, and doing so would have posed a risk to continuity of high quality of care for local residents.  

“We followed a robust process to confirm that the transfer would not affect our patients. Twelve other London CCGs which commission AT Medics Ltd also considered and individually approved the transfer.  

The spokesperson added: “Local residents will continue to receive the same high quality services provided by the same general practice staff. The CCGs will continue to monitor this, as we do with all the services that we commission.”

An Operose Health spokesperson said: "We are committed to widening public access to excellent patient care, especially in the most deprived communities, experiencing the most profound health inequalities.

"By combining best clinical practice, new ways of thinking and the most innovative global health technology, we work to improve the quality, value and accessibility of NHS health care so that all patients can share the opportunity to live healthier lives.”

The Ham&High had not received a comment from AT Medics or Centene at the time of publication.