SWKONP Press Release July 3rd 2021 on Leamington Mega-Lab

South Warwickshire Keep our NHS Public Held a successful rally to celebrate the NHS’s 73rd Birthday on Saturday 3rd July, and to protest at the Privatised Mega-Lab and the stealthy GP Data-Grab.

On Saturday morning June 3rd, South Warwickshire Keep our NHS Public held a rally outside Leamington Town Hall to celebrate the NHS 73rd Birthday, campaign for decent pay for health workers and protest at ongoing creeping privatisation.

Locally, the spotlight was on the privatised Leamington Mega-Lab. Anna Pollert, Secretary of SWKONP, says,

Contrary to claims by now disgraced Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, that the Mega-Lab is publicly owned and operated, the it is run by multinational Impellam Group, chaired by former Conservative Party deputy chair and tax exile Lord Ashcroft. It’s in ‘partnership‘ with ‘Test and Trace’, the notorious waste of £37 billion of public money, which the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee said made no “measurable difference” to stopping the spread of Covid.

MP Matt Western, who was dismissed by Matt Hancock for asking questions about it that it “doesn’t deserve an answer” joined the protest.

SWKONP has major concerns about the safety and lack of regulation at the not-yet-opened Mega-Lab.  Anna Pollert said:

Owner Impellam has no expertise in medical science or laboratories and the lab doesn’t refer to professional approval by the Institute of Biomedical Sciences or United Kingdom Accreditation Service.

SWKONP has mounted an online petition calling on the government to handover the Mega-Lab to NHS Coventry and Warwickshire Pathology Services, and to give these public labs the investment required to expand Covid-19 and other diagnostic services.

See Change Org: https://tinyurl.com/pahcyym5.

The SWKONP Birthday event also drew attention to the forthcoming central collection by NHS Digital of confidential GP patients’, which is happening by stealth. Few people know it’s happening. We don’t know what ‘third parties’ will have access to it. Privacy campaigners and some MPs have argued that the public should be consulted first. The data extraction has been delayed but will still happen on September 1st.  The public has until August 25th to opt out. SWKONP supports the use of medical data for public NHS research, but opposes its use by private companies for profit. Passers-by took forms on opting out from the SWKONP stall. They can be obtained from GPs and there’s more information by MedConfidential https://medconfidential.org/how-to-opt-out/

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