Sajid Javid has started as health secretary, leading to concerns about future privatisation of the NHS.
Javid was hired as a senior advisor to US bank JP Morgan last year after resigning as chancellor.
JP Morgan has stated it has an interest in the ‘opportunities’ that the healthcare industry represents.
Javid is now stepping down from JP Morgan, but people are still raising concerns about his policies and the future of the NHS.
Investment banking career
On 26 June, it was announced that Javid would take over as health secretary after Matt Hancock resigned. The resignation came after Hancock was exposed for kissing aide Gina Coladangelo.
Since joining JP Morgan in August 2020, Javid had been earning over £150k for 80-96 hours of work a year.
And prior to becoming an MP, he had already been successful as an investment banker. Before leaving in 2009 to pursue his political career, reports say he was earning £3m at Deutsche Bank.
While at the bank, Javid held a role selling collateralised debt obligations (CDOs): financial instruments that were a leading cause of the 2008 financial crash.
John McDonnell questioned Javid’s appointment as chancellor in 2019 on this basis, as well saying he should answer questions about involvement with tax avoidance schemes.
Moreover, Javid is a strong proponent of the free market. In April last year, he argued that free market policies were the only way to recover from coronavirus (Covid-19).
In The Times, he wrote:
Interventions that are helpful in a crisis can quickly become the best way of ensuring that we never recover.
A free enterprise economy is the only way of creating jobs and wealth, and properly funding the public services we all rely on.
NHS privatisation fears
Matt Hancock announced reforms to the NHS earlier this year, aimed at ‘reducing bureaucracy, integrating care, and improving accountability’.
However, academics and campaigners criticised the proposed reforms, saying they could open the door to more NHS privatisation.
Campaign group We Own It said the bill could lead to more deregulation of the market and allow private companies to sit on integrated care boards.
An uncertain future
Javid has previously voted against limiting NHS income from private patients, and for removing the cap on how much trusts could earn from private charges.
It’s too early to say how Javid’s appointment will affect the NHS. However, the combination of his party’s proposed reforms and his own free market advocacy spells an ominous future for our healthcare system.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/SLaMNHSFT & Wikimedia Commons/UK Parliament