Many thanks for your email on the acquisition of GP practices in London by Operose and their parent company, Centene.
Firstly, I must be clear that frontbench politicians are unable to sign Early Day Motions. This means that in my role as Shadow International Trade Secretary, I am unable to put my name to EDM 1628. However, that does not diminish my ability to stand up for a publicly funded, publicly run NHS.
This past year has highlighted once again the vital importance of our NHS, and the miraculous work done every day by doctors, nurses, carers and other NHS staff to keep the country safe and healthy. But with a Tory government in charge, we must remain constantly vigilant to ensure the NHS is protected as public service, free at the point of use, run in the interests of patient care, not of shareholder profits.
In my role as Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, I have led efforts in Parliament to ensure that the NHS is exempt from the scope of any future trade deals, particularly with the United States, to stop the growing creep of the US healthcare industry into our health service. You can read an article I wrote about the issue in The Guardian here.
With this in mind I will be writing to the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock raising specific questions over the transfer of London GP surgeries to Operose. In particular, I will ask what it means for the use of NHS patient data, the renegotiation of surgery contracts and any possibility that the services these surgeries provide could be compromised in future. I will pass on to you any response that I receive.
Thank you again for writing to me on this important issue and please do not hesitate to contact me on this or any other matter where I may be able to help.
The Rt Hon. Emily Thornberry MP
Islington South and Finsbury
Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade