NHS Act: were votes for sale?

Private firms linked to over 70 MPs who backed 2012 privatisation Act

A shocking “dossier of disgrace” revealed yesterday that around one in five Con-Dem MPs who voted for NHS reforms have links to private healthcare companies.

Among the 71 coalition members, 64 Tories and 7 Lib Dems, who voted in favour of the hated Health and Social Care Act 2012 were Prime Minister David Cameron, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and current Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

And the legislation’s mastermind, former health secretary Andrew Lansley, was among them.

They were among 330 people who voted in favour of the Bill, which has made it easier for private companies to run NHS contracts since its passage in 2012.

Mr Lansley was handed £21,000 by former Care UK chairman John Nash to fund his personal office in November 2009, while he was preparing the white paper, Unite says.

Over 70 per cent of tendered contracts have since gone to the private sector since the Act came into force with a combined value of £13 billion according to the Unite research.

And a recent investigation by the union found that £1.5bn-worth of contracts have been sold off to just 15 private companies.

A whopping 96 per cent of Care UK’s business, which amounted to £400 million last year, came from the public service.

David Cameron meanwhile made nursing and care home tycoon Dolar Popat, founder of TLC Group, a peer shortly after May 2010.

Aside from donating more than £200,000 to the Conservatives, the union’s research shows Mr Popat’s company has gained over £4m to provide care services since 2012.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is said to have received donations amounting to almost £33,000 from US-based hedge fund chief executive Andrew Law, whose fund owns a multi-million dollar market value in healthcare.

Mr Law has donated in excess of £1.2m to the Conservatives.

Deputy PM Mr Clegg received a donation to his constituency office for £5,000 from Alpha Medical Consultancy, which has nationwide affiliations with premium providers of diagnostic and rehabilitation services.

And Business Secretary Vince Cable was also named for accepting £2,000 from Chartwell Care Services, which owns private hospitals providing day care surgery to NHS patients.

“From lobbying links to investments and in some cases direct donations, scores of coalition MPs who voted for the NHS sell-off had links to the very private healthcare companies which stood to profit,” said Unite general secretary Len McCluskey.

“The sheer scale of this conflict of interest is staggering, but it is the ongoing sell-off of our NHS that makes this the real scandal for our democracy.”

Unite’s research comes ahead of a Commons vote on Friday, under a private members’ Bill tabled by Labour frontbencher Clive Efford, where MPs will decide whether to scrap key sections of the Act.

Activists from Unite, Unison and GMB will stage a candle-lit vigil tomorrow on the eve of the vote from 7pm at Old Palace Yard, opposite Parliament.

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