Response of Philip Morris and other tobacco companies to plain packaging vote justifies fears about TTIP

Cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris have hit back at the plain packaging vote, calling today’s action “an irrational and unnecessary attack on private property that vilifies products that well informed adults choose to buy”:

“The UK Government is ignoring serious legal issues under UK, European, and international law. Five countries are challenging the legality of plain packaging at the World Trade Organization, and 11 EU Member States have objected to the UK’s proposal at the European Commission – recognising their duty under EU treaties to uphold EU law and free competition. At the same time, the EU Court of Justice is considering whether the UK and other Member States have the power to introduce pack standardisation measures beyond those already required by the EU.

While advocates of plain packaging may downplay these issues, the UK Government should be fully aware of the potential consequences of ignoring them, and of rushing to preempt the legal process.”

It’s clear that Philip Morris regard themselves as above the democratic processes that protect citizens and democratic governments from exploitation and abuse by the bullies of the corporate world. They think they should have an inalienable right to promote carcinogenic products and to indulge in a business model that involves encouraging addiction to that product from a young age and then ruthlessly exploiting that addiction until the day the victim dies.  They also believe that their rights trump the right of ordinary citizens to say – no thanks, we do not find this business model acceptable in the 21st Century. We do not want our children to suffer the horrendous and wholly avoidable death rate that Philip Morris products have imposed on so many in the past.

No wonder ordinary citizens are worried about international trade agreements like TTIP that threaten to strengthen the hand of Companies like Philip Morris.

MPs vote to stub out cigarette packaging  (Financial Times March 11 2015):  http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b10b9c9c-c7d9-11e4-8210-00144feab7de.html#axzz3U6MnQojE

 

Atrocious Daily Mail reporting incites a junior Doctor to respond

After reading this in the Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2580846/Accountant-fights-life-trainee-doctor-tried-unblock-windpipe-like-drain-tore-4cm-hole-it.html … junior doctor @JennyMHughes sent a response to the journalist (Emma Innes). You wont find it in the comment sections of the Daily Mail so I have reproduced it here:

Continue reading “Atrocious Daily Mail reporting incites a junior Doctor to respond”

KPMG, McKinsey, Deloitte and PwC have a controlling influence on NHS Monitor and are also major beneficiaries

Who is looking after the interests of the ordinary citizen and tax payer as the privatisation of the NHS gathers pace?

Take a look (see below) at the Executive team of Monitor, the NHS’s economic regulator. You will see KPMG, McKinsey, Deloitte and PwC have pretty much got the board sown up. I don’t see anyone there who will look after the interests of the taxpayer/patient/citizen.  What I do see is yet another example of the legalised corruption called the ‘revolving door’ where advisers and decision makers can move from private companies into government and then back again with resulting huge conflicts of interest.  All of these companies stand to gain financially from the huge and unprecedented sums of money that are being diverted from the NHS into the private sector and have already been caught lobbying for the interests of private health care companies[1]

According to the Yorkshire Post [2] “NHS regulator Monitor spent 40 per cent of its budget on millions of pounds of advice from five big firms of private consultants in the last year”.

The contracts totalling £7.8m include an “interim fee” of £1m for work by turnaround experts from Ernst & Young at the scandal-hit Mid Staffordshire NHS trust.

Figures for 2012-13 show Monitor also paid PwC £3m, McKinsey £1.9m, KPMG £1.1m and Deloitte £800,000 from its £19.5m budget.

Looks like Monitor is a conduit for transferring tax payers cash from the NHS to the big accountancy and management consultancy firms.

 

Monitor – Executive team:

Dr David Bennett (Chief Executive) David has worked for some years in and around the public sector. Before joining Monitor he was the non-political Chief Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair and Head of the Policy Directorate and the Strategy Unit in 10 Downing Street. He has also worked as an independent advisor to various NHS bodies. Before this, David was a senior partner at McKinsey & Co.

Stephen Hay (Managing Director of Provider Regulation) Stephen worked at Monitor on an interim basis, on secondment from KPMG, from December 2003 and was appointed on a permanent basis in October 2004.  A qualified Chartered Accountant, previously Stephen worked with KPMG, latterly as a Director within the Transaction Services Department. He has advised the boards of corporate and private equity houses and his portfolio of financial experience is wide-ranging and includes mergers and acquisitions, due diligence, IPOs, and risk assessment.

Adrian Masters (Managing Director of Sector Development) Adrian was previously Director of the Health Team in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit. Prior to that, Adrian’s career included spells with McKinsey, IBM and Price Waterhouse. He qualified as an accountant, and has an MBA from Stanford University.

Miranda Carter (Executive Director of Assessment) A qualified chartered accountant, Miranda started her career at Deloitte as an auditor in 1991, working in the UK and Hong Kong. In 1997 Miranda joined Price Waterhouse Coopers, and spent four years in the Transaction Services Department in London, focusing on due diligence assignments. She has advised the boards of corporate and private equity houses and her portfolio of financial experience is wide-ranging and includes mergers and acquisitions, due diligence and initial public offerings (IPOs).

Catherine Davies (Executive Director of Co-operation and Competition) Catherine is a competition law specialist with experience in all aspects of EU and UK competition law, having advised on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, distribution arrangements and market investigations across a wide range of sectors, including consumer goods, energy, media and healthcare. Catherine also has experience of public procurement law and judicial review. Before joining the CCP in February 2009 as Legal Director, she worked at the Competition Commission and a large City law firm.

Kate Moore (Executive Director of Legal Services) Kate has extensive experience of regulatory, litigation and public law gained through her previous roles at city law firms, as Director of Legal at the Investors Compensation Scheme and as a principal consultant withKPMG.

Sue Meeson (Executive Director of Strategic Communications) Sue was previously Director of Communications for the Legal Services Commission, which runs the legal aid system, and held a variety of corporate communication roles with Unilever. Her experience covers all aspects of internal and external communications, including media relations, change communications, public affairs and stakeholder engagement.

Source: http://www.monitor-nhsft.gov.uk/about-monitor/who-we-are/executive-team (Accessed 14th Jan 2013)

You can also check out the non executive board – you will find the pretty much the same companies with a majority stake: http://www.monitor-nhsft.gov.uk/about-monitor/who-we-are/the-board

 

[1] Monitor lobbying for private health care companies:
NHS is being outsourced to private health care companies that will be exempt from Freedom of Information requests. Due to commercial confidentiality, these companies will enjoy secret contracts with none of the  transparency expected in the NHS and the Public Sector. If this was not worrying enough, it also appears that Monitor, the NHS’s economic regulator, has been caught arguing that the private health care companies providing NHS services should be exempt from paying corporation tax.  It is clearly ridiculous for companies to lobby to provide NHS services for profit and then to claim it is unfair to pay tax on their profits but that is exactly what they are after. In fact, when exposed,  Monitor back tracked on this lobbying and went rather quiet but don’t expect them to give up.

[2] Exclusive: NHS regulator spends 40% of budget on consultants Yorkshire Post 3rd May 2013

Private NHS providers in line for corporation tax exemption: Labour calls on government not to ‘let the tax avoiders into the NHS’ after revelations in review by Monitor (Randeep Ramesh, social affairs editor The Guardian, Sunday 13 January 2013)

Private health care firms performing NHS services may not have to pay corporation tax on their profits under draft proposals being considered as part of a government-commissioned review into NHS competition. (Daily Telegraph 13th Jan 2013)

PRIVATE HEALTHCARE COMPANIES AND FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (Reason & Reality)

Head of Monitor Has Ties with Private Healthcare Lobby Group Who See Tax, Pensions and NHS Brand as Barrier in ‘Fair Playing Field’ Review. (Social Investigations, 16th Jan 2013)

More Health / NHS

The Shadow Government – Through a network of unbalanced, almost-invisible committees, the government gets what it wants. (By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 13th March 2012)

 

UPDATE (Jan 2014): Monitor Spend Close to Half Million on 23 New Recruits Using Two Companies Financially Linked to Lords (Monitor was recently exposed as having spent 40% of their overall budget on private consultants, which included £1.9million to David Bennett’s former firm Mckinsey.)

Introducing Self Pay from Care UK / NHS (with GPs as the ‘middlemen’?)

The Privatisation and Monetisation of the NHS is not happening with a big bang, but it is already happening, surreptitiously and with no public debate or mandate. It is happening.

Take a look at this leaflet to GPs in the Southampton area.  Note the joint Care UK / NHS logo.

Here is a copy of Care UK’s standard Self Pay leaflet.  Looks like Care UK are positioning to cash in on reductions in the NHS service and hope to use GPs as the ‘middle man’. The Southampton leaflet seems intended to muddy the distinction between private and NHS, presumably so that patients will get used to paying for NHS services. This will smooth the transistion to Care UK’s standard Self Pay services  Apparently the prices on these leaflets are standard private care prices not NHS prices which are lower.

Here is a link to the Southampton Care UK / NHS websites:
http://www.southamptontreatmentcentre.nhs.uk/

Care UK in joint deal with NHS  FT March 2013 (“The move underscores the growing commercialisation of the state-funded health service.”)

Corporate Watch: Care UK  (Corporate Watch)

FISHIEST OUTSOURCING FIRMS: Care UK  (False Economy)

“If there’s just one thing that Care UK knows how to do – and there is – it’s take money from the state. I would make a bigger deal of the fact that 96 per cent of Care UK’s revenue comes from the NHS. That’s the kind of solid base that any company would envy – taxpayers’ money, minimal risk, easy profits.” Alex Nunns: Going private? What happened when a private health company offered an NHS campaigner a job   New Statesman July 2012

Wiltshire CCG seeking legal advice over ‘Care UK’ contract for Wiltshire’s new NHS 111 phone service  (Reason and Reality March 21st 2013)

By 2015, new NHS charges will be knocking at the door  Guardian Nicholas Timmins Guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 17 April 2013

 

Personal Health Budgets PHBs – a transition to a two tier US style Health Service?

“Personal Health Budgets” (PHBs) are being rolled out across the UK. Have these been publicly debated? Are the media paying attention??  Are WE paying attention??

The stated advantages of Personal Health Budgets are very persuasive but is this the whole story?  Are Personal Health Budgets just Health Vouchers which in the long run will be a subsidy to the wealthy and those with expensive private insurance who can pay to top up their voucher.   Will those less well off  (the majority ) have to make do with fixed cash limited budgets that do not keep up with inflation and personal health costs?  In short are these budgets too easy for governments (current or future) to manipulate? Will this lead to a two tier health service? Is this the unstated intention of the government? Anyone know the answer?

The article below[1] by Lucy Reynolds details how she thinks PHBs will lead to profit driven health care and a two tier system based on a US style insurance system.  Those who cannot afford or cannot get insurance will suffer a third rate cash limited service as PHBs fail to keep up with inflation in health care costs.

UPDATE: Since starting this topic I have had an interesting Twitter interaction and have been made aware of just how well PHBs are working for long term care in the pilot areas. There seems to be pretty convincing evidence of the success of PHBs . But I still worry that this is down to the commitment and sincerity of those who are implementing the pilots. What happens if the budgets are no longer sufficient to cover the costs?  I will have to leave the debate open, clearly PHBs are proving to be successfully implemented by sincere and committed people lets hope no one lets them down in the future.

For a positive view, take a look at:  People Hub Personal Health Budgets Network

This is all happening NOW. The government consultation finishes 26th April: 
Open consultation: Changes to direct payments for healthcare
. Gov.uk, March 2013

Here’s another argument in favour (Zesty is an online Health Care Market so stands to gain from Personal Health Budgets): Personal health budgets to be rolled out in the UK.  Zesty 4th Dec 2012

[1] Here’s an argument against:
Personal health CARE budgets as a transition state to profit‐driven care  Lucy Reynolds Health Services Researcher London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

 

GPs should not block personal budgets even if treatments have no evidence, says RCGP  Pulse 9 Jan 2013

DH consults on paying families management fee to administer personal health budgets  Pulse 4 March 2013

And so it continues:

In 2010, while discussing the NHS “reforms” to a healthcare industry conference,  a senior adviser to David Cameron, Mark Britnell, was quoted as stating:  “In future, The NHS will be a state insurance provider not a state deliverer”, and that “The NHS will be shown no mercy and the best time to take advantage of this will be in the next couple of years.”  Britnell claimed that the next two years in the UK would provide a “big opportunity” for the for-profit sector, and that the NHS would ultimately end up as a financier of care similar to an insurance company rather than a provider of hospitals and staff.   Well here are some of those companies taking their opportunities:

Health insurance advert

New Private Ward at Salisbury District Hospital

Premises rule change ‘may allow GPs freedom to ramp up private work’  Pulse April 2013

Salisbury NHS Watch

More on Health / NHS

Here’s another new advert appearing on web pages (for ThriftQuote insurance):

Thrift Advert

Lobbying: “The Next Big Scandal” (and its influence on NHS privatisation)

This is my latest letter to our local MP, John Glen, regarding a promise made by David Cameron concerning the “next big scandal”.

 

Dear Mr Glen,

Before the last election Mr Cameron promised there would be no top down reorganisation or privatisation of the NHS. He also pointed out that ‘Lobbying’ would be the next big scandal and promised to do something about it.

Three years after the last election, I note that a disturbing number of contracts in the privatisation of the NHS (part of a massive top down reorganisation) have gone to companies that have been generous donors to individual MPs, government ministers or the Conservative party in general. I also note that a disturbing number of MPs and Lords, not just Tory, stand to gain financially from the outsourcing of NHS services.  It would seem then that Mr Cameron’s prediction is about to come true. I am sure that you want to avoid this as much as ordinary ‘hard-working ‘ citizens, whose tax payments will fund this scandal.

I am therefore keen to ensure that the government fulfils its commitment to create a statutory lobbying register. If it is not legislated for in the next parliamentary session, I am sure that you will be concerned that the government may miss its chance to implement this pledge, which was in the coalition agreement.

Please can you ask the minister in charge, Chloe Smith, to seek an assurance that the legislation for it will be announced in the Queen’s Speech?

Also, if you have not yet done so, please sign EDM: 222 Register of Lobbyists.

This, on its own, will not be sufficient to prevent the scandal but will be a small first step and will indicate that the government is serious about this particular promise.

Many thanks,

Colin Lawson.

NB: Abundant evidence to substantiate the conflicts of interest, lobbying and political donations that are a part of the NHS ‘reforms’ is in the public domain but I can provide details if you so wish.

Some evidence from 2012: Special Report –  Selling the NHS: how parliament and the healthcare industry got cosy

NHS is threatened by ‘legalised corruption’ March 2012

 Unhealthy influence: The rise of the NHS Partners Network  Social Investigations, March 2013

The Chair of the committee that advises on business appointments to departing senior civil servants is a director of a company that has won a contract related to the Health and Social Care Act in which he voted in favour.  Social Investigations, April 2013

Latest on Conflicts of Interest:
CCG head awards “£70,000 contract to a firm where he is medical director.” http://bit.ly/14BELbz 

BBC News – Conflicts of interest ‘rife’ among new GP commissioners

GPs need protection against conflicts of interest, say legal experts  Pulse, 4th April 2013

GP duty of candour undermined by ‘inappropriate’ gagging clauses in CCG constitutions  Pulse, 5th April 2013

And, in case anyone wasn’t paying attention:How the BBC betrayed the NHS: an exclusive report by ‘Open Democracy’ on two years of censorship and distortion

Healthcare trusts seek big increase in income from private patients, raising fears of two-tier service  Observer 6th April 2013

1,000 GPs gagged by CCGs from talking about local health services  D Telegraph 6 April 2013

More than 100 lobbying professionals still hold parliamentary passes: Senior managers at interest groups and businesses still have passes despite coalition promises to change perception of lobbying  10th April, Guardian

 

Wiltshire CCG seeking legal advice over ‘Care UK’ contract for Wiltshire’s new NHS 111 phone service

I have just read another interesting article from Toby Millet at ‘Marlborough News Online’ (read it here). (See also a BBC report here).

It seems that the out sourcing of the NHS 111 phone service in Wiltshire is not going too well. The launch is being delayed and the new Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is taking legal advice on the contract.

It appears that during tests on ‘out of hours calls’ during evenings and at weekends far too many calls were not answered within the required time limit and ambulances were called out for people who definitely did not need them – apparently in one case to someone with a sore throat.

The article gives full details of the problems but I would like to take a closer look at private health care provider, ‘Care UK’, who bought out the original winner of the 111 phone contract (another health care company called Harmoni).

‘Care UK’ is a British private health care provider well placed to take advantage of the outsourcing of the NHS under the new Health Care Bill. Its chairman, John Nash[6], made a donation[1][2] of £21,000 to the private office of Andrew Lansley when he was opposition spokes person for Health and who later became Secretary of State for Health. According to a Guardian report ‘Care UK’ has a reduced tax bill[3] by taking out loans through the Channel Islands and coming to special agreements with HMRC.

If the NHS were being outsourced, for the benefit of patients, to small or medium sized organisations or enterprises, embedded in the local community and with a stake in maintaining the principles of the NHS this might not be so worrying, but Care UK is one of a number of companies (Spire Healthcare, Care UK, Circle Health, Ramsay Health Care, General Healthcare, Virgin Care) that clearly see the NHS as a cash cow. These companies along with the likes of KPMG, McKinsey, Price Waterhouse[4] are positioned to drive through changes to our health care that will suit them and their share holders with little protection for the interests of the users. The “legalised corruption”[5] that is the “revolving door” where advisors and decision makers can move from these private companies into government and then back again with resulting huge conflicts of interest will mean that there will be little to prevent our health service becoming yet another conduit for transferring tax payers cash to multimillionaires and share holders.

[1]  “Andrew Lansley embroiled in ‘cash for influence’ row after accepting £21,000 donation from Care UK chairman John Nash”Mail Online. 15 January 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2011.

[2] “Andrew Lansley bankrolled by private healthcare provider”The Daily Telegraph. 14 January 2010. Retrieved 6 April 2011.

[3] “Firms poised to take advantage of NHS shake-up ‘avoid tax on their profits'”The Guardian. 17 March 2012. Retrieved 21 January 2013.

[4] NHS has been handed over to McKinsey, KPMG, Price Waterhouse.  Reason and Reality, 15th Jan 2013

[5] The NHS is threatened by legalised corruption  Reason and Reality, 4th march 2012

[6] The price tag for becoming an unelected government minister – seems like £300,000. “In 2013 it was announced that John Nash would become a schools minister.  He became a life peer as Baron Nash, of Ewelme in the County of Oxfordshire on 21 January 2013.  He and his wife have donated almost £300,000 to the Conservative party and according to the Telegraph, the appointment raises concern about a potential conflict of interest and appointment of donors though the Department for Education said he would not make business decisions whilst in office”. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Nash,_Baron_Nash  Wikipedia

UPDATENHS 111 implodes as GPC withdraws support for urgent care hotline  By Jaimie Kaffash, PULSE, 22 March 2013

Wiltshire’s new NHS111 telephone service delayed for a month  Tony Millett Marlborough News Online, 22 March 2013.

Patients are being put at risk due to catastrophic failings of the new NHS 111 non-emergency phone line, doctors have warned. Daily Telegraph, 28 Mar 2013.

More UPDATE: Delays, abandoned calls and an 11-hour wait for a call-back: Leaked document reveals the extent of NHS 111 performance issues  Pulse 12th April 2013

Private Health Care companies want to be exempt from Corporation Tax. Alt title: NHS has been handed over to McKinsey, KPMG, Price Waterhouse.

Update 14:42 15th Jan 2013, Monitor have just announced the following (only a few hours after I published the post below):  “Monitor will not be recommending that private sector providers should be exempt from paying corporation tax”  This is good news, although the Health Care Companies and their friends in government will probably continue to lobby for tax breaks.  We still also need to be concerned about: the conflicts of interest, the exemption from Freedom of Information requests, the lack of transparency in the contracts and the influence that companies like KPMG, Price Waterhouse, McKinsey etc. have over the privatisation of the NHS.

My previous post highlighted the fact that the NHS is being outsourced to private health care companies that will be exempt from Freedom of Information requests. Due to commercial confidentiality, these companies will enjoy secret contracts with none of the  transparency expected in the NHS and the Public Sector. If this was not worrying enough, it also appears that Monitor, the NHS’s economic regulator, is arguing that the private health care companies providing NHS services should be exempt from paying corporation tax.  It is clearly ridiculous for companies to lobby to provide NHS services for profit and then to claim it is unfair to pay tax on their profits but that is exactly what they are after.

So who is looking after the interests of the ordinary citizen and tax payer. Well take a look at the Executive team of Monitor.  You will see KPMG, McKinsey and Price Waterhouse have pretty much got the board sown up. I don’t see anyone there who will look after the interests of the taxpayer/patient/citizen.  What I do see is yet another example of the legalised corruption called the ‘revolving door’ where advisors and decision makers can move from private companies into government and then back again with resulting huge conflicts of interest. (All of these companies stand to gain financially from the huge and unprecedented sums of money that will be diverted from the NHS into the private sector)

Monitor – Executive team:

Dr David Bennett (Chief Executive) David has worked for some years in and around the public sector. Before joining Monitor he was the non-political Chief Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair and Head of the Policy Directorate and the Strategy Unit in 10 Downing Street. He has also worked as an independent advisor to various NHS bodies. Before this, David was a senior partner at McKinsey & Co.

Stephen Hay (Managing Director of Provider Regulation) Stephen worked at Monitor on an interim basis, on secondment from KPMG, from December 2003 and was appointed on a permanent basis in October 2004.  A qualified Chartered Accountant, previously Stephen worked with KPMG, latterly as a Director within the Transaction Services Department. He has advised the boards of corporate and private equity houses and his portfolio of financial experience is wide-ranging and includes mergers and acquisitions, due diligence, IPOs, and risk assessment.

Adrian Masters (Managing Director of Sector Development) Adrian was previously Director of the Health Team in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit. Prior to that, Adrian’s career included spells with McKinsey, IBM and Price Waterhouse. He qualified as an accountant, and has an MBA from Stanford University.

Miranda Carter (Executive Director of Assessment) A qualified chartered accountant, Miranda started her career at Deloitte as an auditor in 1991, working in the UK and Hong Kong. In 1997 Miranda joined Price Waterhouse Coopers, and spent four years in the Transaction Services Department in London, focusing on due diligence assignments. She has advised the boards of corporate and private equity houses and her portfolio of financial experience is wide-ranging and includes mergers and acquisitions, due diligence and initial public offerings (IPOs).

Catherine Davies (Executive Director of Co-operation and Competition) Catherine is a competition law specialist with experience in all aspects of EU and UK competition law, having advised on mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, distribution arrangements and market investigations across a wide range of sectors, including consumer goods, energy, media and healthcare. Catherine also has experience of public procurement law and judicial review. Before joining the CCP in February 2009 as Legal Director, she worked at the Competition Commission and a large City law firm.

Kate Moore (Executive Director of Legal Services) Kate has extensive experience of regulatory, litigation and public law gained through her previous roles at city law firms, as Director of Legal at the Investors Compensation Scheme and as a principal consultant with KPMG.

Sue Meeson (Executive Director of Strategic Communications) Sue was previously Director of Communications for the Legal Services Commission, which runs the legal aid system, and held a variety of corporate communication roles with Unilever. Her experience covers all aspects of internal and external communications, including media relations, change communications, public affairs and stakeholder engagement.

Source: http://www.monitor-nhsft.gov.uk/about-monitor/who-we-are/executive-team (Accessed 14th Jan 2013)

You can also check out the non executive board – you will find the pretty much the same companies with a majority stake: http://www.monitor-nhsft.gov.uk/about-monitor/who-we-are/the-board

 

Private NHS providers in line for corporation tax exemption: Labour calls on government not to ‘let the tax avoiders into the NHS’ after revelations in review by Monitor (Randeep Ramesh, social affairs editor The Guardian, Sunday 13 January 2013)

Private health care firms performing NHS services may not have to pay corporation tax on their profits under draft proposals being considered as part of a government-commissioned review into NHS competition. (Daily Telegraph 13th Jan 2013)

PRIVATE HEALTHCARE COMPANIES AND FREEDOM OF INFORMATION (Reason & Reality)

Head of Monitor Has Ties with Private Healthcare Lobby Group Who See Tax, Pensions and NHS Brand as Barrier in ‘Fair Playing Field’ Review. (Social Investigations, 16th Jan 2013)

More Health / NHS

The Shadow Government – Through a network of unbalanced, almost-invisible committees, the government gets what it wants. (By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 13th March 2012)

PRIVATE HEALTHCARE COMPANIES AND FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

This is a copy of an email that I have sent to my MP, John Glen (Salisbury).

PRIVATE HEALTHCARE COMPANIES AND FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

Dear Mr Glen

The government’s privitisation of the NHS is now up to full speed (despite them having no democratic mandate whatsoever) and huge sums of tax payers money, potentially unprecedented amounts, are being funnelled to the private sector. This must raise serious concerns about the potential for financial malpractice and corruption.  This concern is fuelled by two issues in particular:

  • The protection from freedom of information requests and the general lack of transparency (under the guise of commercial confidentially) allowed in contracts with the private sector, unlike the public sector where all contracts are open to public scrutiny.
  • The revolving door between government advisers and ministers and the private sector, leaving scope for huge conflicts of interest issues and even ‘legalised’ corruption.

I am sure you will be as concerned as I am that the outsourcing of the NHS to international companies, many with a chequered track record, needs to be open to at least the same level of scrutiny as the public sector.  With out this level of scrutiny, out sourcing of the NHS is likely to be the “next big scandal waiting to happen”.

In view of the above I ask you, as my MP, to support the Early day motion 773 PRIVATE HEALTHCARE COMPANIES AND FREEDOM OF INFORMATION.

For your convenience I have pasted a copy of the motion below.

If you are unable to support this motion could you please let me know how you intend to pressure the government to ensure that the ‘next big scandal’ does not become reality.

Best regards,

Colin Lawson

 

How to follow the public money in a privatised NHS: Without basic financial transparency from public service contractors we can say goodbye to democratic accountability (Zoe Williams, The Guardian, Wednesday 9 January 2013)

The NHS is threatened by legalised corruption

 

Early day motion 773:  PRIVATE HEALTHCARE COMPANIES AND FREEDOM OF INFORMATION

“That this House notes that the most significant development that has followed from the Government’s healthcare reforms has been the 7 billion pounds worth of new contracts being made available to the private health sector; further notes that at least five former advisers to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer are now working for lobbying firms with private healthcare clients; recalls the Prime Minister’s own reported remarks prior to the general election when he described lobbying as `the next big scandal waiting to happen’; recognises the growing scandal of the procurement model that favours the private health sector over the NHS, by allowing private companies to hide behind commercial confidentiality and which compromises the best practice aspirations of the public sector; condemns the practice of revolving doors, whereby Government health advisers move to lucrative contracts in the private healthcare sector, especially at a time when the privatisation of the NHS is proceeding by stealth; is deeply concerned at the unfair advantages being handed to private healthcare companies; and demands that in future all private healthcare companies be subject to freedom of information  requests under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in the same way as existing NHS public sector organisations.”