Over one in four governing members of the Tory designed NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which have responsibility for a budget of £65 billion, have links to a private company involved in healthcare.
The comprehensive study carried out by Unite, has uncovered how financial interests are ‘running amok’ threatening the trust between GP and patient and the NHS because of the Health and Social Care Act.
The Health and Social Care Act gave CCGs responsibility for commissioning services and in doing so opened the door to conflicts of interest on a massive scale.
CCGs are clinically led groups with GP representatives from their geographical area, managers and lay persons.
This is the first comprehensive study of the new NHS commissioners’ external financial interests in private healthcare and proves that vested interests lie at the heart of the government’s Health and Social Care Act.
Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey said: “The Tory designed Health and Social Care Act handed the NHS budget, worth tens of billions, over to Clinical Commissioning Groups and in doing so, created a monster, where personal financial interests run amok.
“As a result our NHS is being privatised and unless David Cameron uses his veto to get the NHS out of the EU-US trade deal TTIP, the government’s sell-off will be irreversible.
“The £3 billion redesign has not only wasted taxpayers’ money and benefitted Tory donors but damaged the very fabric of our NHS. The Health and Social Care Act must be repealed and Cameron must use his veto to get the NHS out of TTIP.”
Dr Ron Singer, chair of the Doctors’ section of Unite said: “The Health and Social Care Act forced GPs into a business model that the vast majority did not want.
“Most GPs want to spend their time caring for their patients not tendering out services and being part of a bidding war.
“The government’s health act has created opportunities for exploitation by some CCG board members. At the same time some GPs have decided to become CCG members as a way to defend NHS services from privatisation and fragmentation.
“The government’s HSCA is a disaster and is fit for the dustbin of history.”
Unite looked at the registered interests of 3,392 CCG board members, the most extensive research of these interests undertaken.
Of the 3,392 Board Members, 932 (27%) of CCG board members were found to have a link to a private company involved in healthcare including: 513 Company Directors, 140 business owners, 105 external work, 17 Partners, 15 Chairs, 10 Company Secretaries, 5 CEOs, 1 Trustee, 1 Financial Officer and 125 others including consultants.
The study also found 409 (12%) board members are shareholders in such companies; a combination of businesses they own and external private companies, including providers of ‘Out of Hours Services’.
Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315
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.
Twitter: http://twitter.com/unitetheunion .
Read the report here
A CCG awarded all its existing enhanced services, worth £2.3 million, to a new single federation made up of all practices in the region.
A GP group in Croydon paid more than half a million pounds to a healthcare company of which half a dozen of its board members and senior clinicians are shareholders.
A report on ‘Out of Hours’ services by the Health Select Committee, highlighted that in Barnet, Enfield and Haringey, a ‘number of GPs who work for the CCGs also have shareholdings in the organisation that provides out-of-hours care. They also noted that some clinical commissioning groups have awarded out-of-hours contracts without a competitive procurement process.
In November this year, the Lancashire Telegraph revealed that 30 doctors' surgeries bought shares in a company called Lancashire EU of GPs Ltd, which can bid for services. The GP practices are also members of the East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), who are responsible for how NHS money is spent.
Concerns were raised about the support being offered to the GP Company by the CCG, which held a meeting of invited doctors to 'finalise arrangements for setting up the Lancashire EU of GPs'.
Labour MP Mr Jones said: “These GPs have now set themselves up as a business and they will effectively be bidding for contracts and also determining who will receive them. This demonstrates how the legislation is a disaster and is unravelling by the day."
A GP practice wrote to patients to advertise private cardiovascular screening tests available on the NHS. The company had paid them a nominal fee for hosting the service.