Campaign group EveryDoctor call attention to links between politicians and private healthcare sector

NHS nurses on a strike, as EveryDoctor calls attention to privatisation
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Campaign group EveryDoctor has released yet more information on NHS privatisation. The group previously published research on the links between politicians and the private healthcare sector. Now, its latest map helps show the scale of the problem:

The red pins show areas where non-NHS care is provided, for example by a charity, or through the private sector. The blue and green pins show the details of politicians who, as EveryDoctor says:

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have interests in, or have been supported by, private healthcare organisations or by individuals with interests in such organisations.

The group explained:

So far, the map contains information from the past 12 months, drawn from the MP Register of Interests. This information includes earnings, expensive hospitality accepted by MPs, and donations.

EveryDoctor’s spotlight

Using EveryDoctor’s map, we can find many prominent politicians who have interests in the private sector. For example, Keir Starmer shows up on the map:

EveryDoctor NHS Privatisation

Here, we can see that John Armitage is director of Egerton Capital, a hedge firm which as EveryDoctor explains has billions “invested in United Health, a US based private healthcare provider that is trying to break into the UK ‘market'”. Late last year, Armitage made a donation to Starmer.

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt was also on the map:

EveryDoctor NHS Privatisation

BGF are an investment firm which, as EveryDoctor explain, has invested £181.4m in healthcare companies since 2011. Hunt made £16,000 for delivering a speech to BGF in 2019, and later donated it to charity. The question remains, of course, is what business does any politician have in making connections with private healthcare companies? None at all.

Dominic Raab is shown to have accepted a donation from The Red House, a private nursing home, for campaigning in his local constituency:

EveryDoctor NHS Privatisation

Wes Streeting, meanwhile, has benefited from a donation that came from Peter Hearn. As the Morning Star reported, Hearn is the third biggest donor to MPs since the last election, giving money to Dan Jarvis and Yvette Cooper also. Hearn is a director for OPD group, which as EveryDoctor note, is heavily involved in the private sector:

Each of these links are just the tip of the iceberg – you can take a look at EveryDoctor’s NHS privatisation map here. As Dr Julia Patterson, EveryDoctor chief executive told the Canary:

The NHS has existed for 75 years, but if it is to thrive in the future, politicians must be committed to investing in a publicly-run NHS. These links between politicians and the private healthcare sector are incredibly worrying.

Privatisation in the NHS

As the Canary has reported previously, NHS privatisation is not something to warn against for the future – it’s already here. EveryDoctor has been able to present already public information in a way that’s easy to understand. The question for politicians, then, is why is it so hard to find this information? We know exactly why, because plenty of people evidently see their political careers as a way to gather connections from the private sector to further their own interests.

Dr Megan Smith, head of policy and NHS consultant anesthetist told the Canary:

Why are politicians allowed to forge links with the private sector, and who benefits from this situation? One thing is clear – NHS patients certainly don’t.

If we’re going to have an honest conversation about why the NHS is struggling so much, we need look no further than politicians more interested in their own welfare, and not the welfare of NHS patients.

Featured image by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona/Unsplash

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