The Independent London Newspaper

 

Andrew Lansley pledge on decision to drop Camidoc

Andrew Lansley

Minister ‘looks at’ private firm contract

Published: 17 September, 2010
by TOM FOOT

THE health secretary is to intervene in a decision to drop Islington’s out-of-hours doctors provid­er. 

Andrew Lansley said he would “look at” the process by which Camidoc was replaced by private firm Harmoni.

The stricken not-for-profit group was axed on July 27 after it used doctors’ pensions to prop up the service.

More than 200 doctors delivered a petition to the Mr Lansley arguing that the “illegal” use of their pension fund was “made in good faith” and that Camidoc should be reinstated.

Responding to a question from Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy in the House of Commons, Mr Lansley said he wanted to involve GPs much more in commissioning out-of-hours services.

“I will undertake to look at what is proposed by the primary care trusts in north London and see whether it is consistent with the development we are looking for in the White Paper,” he added.

NHS Camden, which manages the contract on behalf of Islington, said it axed Camidoc after a business review found the non-profit-making company was using pensions inappropriately and was “technically insolvent”.

The doctors’ petition said: “Withholding some pensions contributions was indeed illegal. However, it was done in good faith, with no attempt to conceal it either from auditors or the primary care trust, both of whom we understand knew about the problem in late 2009, well before the contract was awarded.”

It said demand for Camidoc services had rocketed in 2008 and that pleas for more funding were repeatedly ignored.

The petition requests the contract transfer, which came into effect this month, be “put on hold until proper consultation with interested parties occurs”.

But a NHS Camden spokesman said: “Legal advice has confirmed that there is no obligation to consult under section 242 of the NHS Act as there is no change in service provision between Camidoc and Harmoni.”

 

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