The takeover of GP practices in London by US health insurance giant Centene Corporation will be subject of a landmark judicial review on 1 and 2 February after tens of thousands of pounds was raised by the public to fund the case, Unite the union said today (Tuesday 25 January).

Campaigners say that the review will focus on the lack of consultation with patients, following the takeover early in 2021 by Centene’s UK subsidiary Operose Health of the privately-owned AT Medics set up in 2004 by six NHS GPs and which runs 37 GP practices across London.

Campaign organisations, including Unite, Keep Our NHS Public, 999 Call for the NHS and We Own It, spearheaded the campaign which saw the public donate generously so that the judicial review got the go-ahead last October.

The High Court will hear the case on Tuesday 1 February and Wednesday 2 February when it will consider whether the North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) acted unlawfully. The issues under the microscope include whether due diligence into the workings of Operose Health took place, and the lack of consultation with patients and other stakeholders.

Doctors in Unite is supporting a protest outside the High Court at the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, WC2A 2LL at 09.00 on 1 and 2 February.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a landmark case in the fight against the accelerating pace of privatisation of the NHS in England. Unite, with 100,000 members in the health service, fully supports the judicial review. We will not allow our GP services to be hived off to profit-hungry American private healthcare companies.

“Our members, who work in the health service, want to work for the NHS and not some US private health company and Unite members who use the NHS on a daily basis want their taxes to fund it, not go to profits in the US boardroom and the pockets of their shareholders.”

Doctors in Unite chair Jackie Applebee said: “A favourable judgement at this judicial review could stop GP surgery privatisation in its tracks.

“A key question will be why a large swathe of English general practice, including the data of nearly half a million patients, was handed over to US health insurance giant Centene with a breath-taking lack of transparency and openness.”

Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers' living standards.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

Please note the numbers above are for journalists’ enquiries only.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: 

Unite is the leading union in the UK and Ireland, dedicated to defending and improving members' jobs, pay and conditions. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.