NHS Camden has failed the people: it’s time for change

Week after week, your pages are full of stories about the activities of NHS Camden (formerly the primary care trust PCT), the anger it has aroused and the protests its actions generate. There was the privatisation of GP surgeries in the south of Camden, h

Week after week, your pages are full of stories about the activities of NHS Camden (formerly the primary care trust PCT), the anger it has aroused and the protests its actions generate.

There was the privatisation of GP surgeries in the south of Camden, handed to an American multinational, provoking widespread patient disquiet. There was the proposed 'GP-led' health centre on the Hampstead Road, on which the PCT eventually, on the steps of the High Court, effectively admitted it had failed to properly consult upon.

Now there's the threat to Whittington A&E. On the streets of North Camden, I've seen the anger of local people as they queue to sign the petition against closing this essential service.

And last week, Camden Keep Our NHS Public campaigners exposed the fact that tenders of the out-of-hours service now run by the doctors' co-operative Camidoc would be closing on Friday - a complete surprise even to the council's own health scrutiny committee!


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That council committee, which has a statutory duty to provide local democratic scrutiny of the trust's actions, was clearly extremely frustrated at the lack of information it was provided with, at the way it was being told the trust representative ''couldn't remember'' the weighting of quality versus cost in the contract, and much else about the trust's behaviour.

Surely it is time to say enough is enough. This undemocratic quango has clearly lost the trust of the public, has failed to answer to democratic oversight and must be substantially reformed.

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Putting some local health campaigners on the trust, and some local grassroots GPs who've bravely stood up for their peers, would be a good start.

In the longer term, health administration needs to be at the appropriate local democratic level - not giant quangos.

Natalie Bennett

Green Party candidate

Holborn & St Pancras

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