Lord Warner, the co-author of a report calling for a £10-a-month ‘membership charge’ to fund the NHS, has strong links to the private healthcare companies that would benefit from such a fee.
Unite, the country’s largest union, said that the link between ex-health minister, Lord Warner, the co-author of the right-wing think tank Reform report, and the private health sector demonstrated an unacceptable conflict of interest.
Unite said that the £10-a-month membership fee would be ‘the death knell’ of a health service free at the point of delivery to those in need.
Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “The Reform report needs to be kicked out completely. If such a proposal were ever adopted, it would be the death knell for the NHS. It would be the end of a health service free at the point of delivery for all those in need.
“It would be very discriminatory against the poor who would struggle to pay such a charge. It would create a two-tier NHS in favour of the well-off. It would fundamentally undermine the principles and ethos of the NHS.
“Lord Warner, the co-author of the Reform report, is a stalking horse for the interests of the private healthcare companies to which he has strong links – and this should be borne in mind in any discussion of this divisive ‘membership charge’ idea. This is an unacceptable conflict of interest.
“Immediate savings could be made to the NHS by stripping out this obsession with turning the health service into a market place for private healthcare companies, when the £30 billion funding crisis is looming.”
Lord Warner works as an adviser to Xansa, a technology firm, and Byotrol, an antimicrobial company, which both sell services or products to the NHS and was “paid by DLA Piper, which advised ministers on the £12 billion IT project for the NHS” projects that he was responsible for when he was a government minister.
Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, recently embarked on a leverage strategy to save the NHS from privatisation.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Notes to editors
• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.