Privatisation: Grainger Medical Group GP Surgery, Benwell, Newcastle
To: Newcastle City Council Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee
Newcastle City Council's Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny committee failed to scrutinise the tendering process by North of Tyne PCT of the Grainger Medical Group contract. Specifically, we seek answers to the following: 1) Why was the contract awarded to CARE UK (what criteria was used and what weighting was given)? 2) What are the terms of the contract with CARE UK? 3) Why were patients at the practice not consulted about these changes? 4) How will the terms of the contract be monitored, and which body will be responsible for this monitoring?
Why is this important?
On September 1st, the Grainger Medical Group GP Practices in Benwell, Newcastle were handed over to the private healthcare company Care UK. This followed a tendering process that was obscured from public view, with patients at the practice only finding out that their GP was being tendered out after the contract had been awarded to Care UK. Care UK have a poor track record of providing GP style health care services. In the past they have lost 6,000 X-ray records, and turned away a patient from an urgent care centre, who in fact had meningitis, because of the terms of their contract. Staff at the practice have resigned in protest at the decision. The Council has the power to scrutinise the tendering process, yet did not look at the bidding process. This is a serious error of judgement and does not bode well for the ability of supposed scrutinising bodies to play their role in an increasingly privatised NHS. With the passing of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, private providers will become increasingly common place in our NHS. It is important our elected representatives hold them to account.