Javid agrees to talks after TV probe into US health ‘takeover’

Meeting with MP comes after BBC Panorama investigation

Friday, 17th June — By Tom Foot

Sajid Javid

Sajid Javid Photo: members.parliament.uk

THE health secretary has agreed to meet Labour’s Karen Buck to discuss mounting concerns about standards at an National Health Service-funded GP surgery controlled by the subsidiary of a United States company.

Sajid Javid said that he would meet the Westminster North MP after a BBC Panorama investigation claimed surgeries run by Operose Health were often staffed with doctor assistants instead of fully-qualified general practitioners.

The company, which is owned by one of the biggest health insurance companies in the United States, was part of a major takeover of GP practices last year that included the Randolph Surgery in Maida Vale.

Ms Buck asked the secretary of state what steps he had taken to establish “what has gone wrong”, adding: “The Panorama broadcast indicated serious concerns about its quality of service, staffing levels and patient safety.

“Since then constituents of mine have approached me to reflect their concerns about the service.”

She asked whether he would agree to meet “MPs with those surgeries” to discuss concerns.

Mr Javid agreed to a meeting, adding: “NHS GP services all have to meet the same requirements, the same regulations, and the same standards across the country.

“Where patients are not getting that care and those standards are not being met, we expect local commissioners to take action.”

Operose Health has denied any wrongdoing and said that its processes are “audited monthly for quality and safety”.

The company denies putting profit before patient care and says that it has recruited 38 GPs in the past 12 months and is in the process of recruiting 14 more.

Operose Health also says that 97 per cent of its practices are rated “good” or “outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission regulator and that it works “in the best interests of patients, providing access to the highest quality of care”.

The Department of Health & Social Care says that all NHS GP services are subject to the same regulation and standards and that patients should always receive high-quality care.

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