Thursday 25 April 2013

Breaking the Code and the Healthcare Chain

'In the conduct of their parliamentary duties, Members of the House shall base their actions on consideration of the public interest, and shall resolve any conflict between their personal interest and the public interest at once, and in favour of the public interest.' - the Lord's Code of Conduct

The Lords have spoken. The coalition with a little help from Labour Peer, Lord Warner chose to vote in favour of the government to keep section 75 regulations of the Health and Social Care Act in place. In doing so, they imposed increased legal pressures on the new commissioners to put out services to tender, which will fragment the NHS into the hands of private companies.

The Members’ financial interests represent every stage of the healthcare value chain: from private equity firms that fund private healthcare companies, to holding shares in those same companies. They are Chairmen of companies who run NHS estates, are involved in PFI deals, are partners in legal firms that seal those deals, advisers to private hospitals, they also represent companies in pharmaceutical media, medical equipment, care homes, lobbying, and health insurance.

You name it, the corporations have it covered; and the list of vested interests in both the House of Commons and the Lords is so great, it is effectively a healthcare coup d’├ętat against our parliamentary institutions (see partial list below). Yet all of the peers with such vested interests were able to vote on the Health and Social Care bill and the section 75 Regulations, that now threatens to hand over large chunks of the NHS into private company hands.

The public, once again were placed in a situation whereby the future direction of the NHS was in the hands of unelected individuals who have vested interests in the outcome of their vote. One in four Conservative Lords have these interests, as well as one in six Labour Lords, one in six Crossbench Lords and one in ten Liberal Democrats. This is democracy today in Britain.

The position they hold blurs the line between public and private duty. Some of the companies who employ Lords have already won contracts in the new NHS since the health bill became an Act; in some cases at the very same moment the bill was being debated. The outcome of the vote has been made, but the institutional corruption remains.

Below, I have a list of unelected Peers from the upper chamber who represent the corporations that cover every part of the healthcare chain – they have it all wrapped up.

A selection of interests

Frontline services: Lord Nash
When Chairman of Care UK, John Nash – a Conservative Donor – made a donation of £21,000 to then-shadow health secretary, Andrew Lansley, co-author of the Health and Social Care bill. Nash now sits on the free market board of the Centre for Policy Studies, which has produced several papers on dismantling the NHS. Voted to reject the removal of the Section 75 regulations.

PFI: Lord Blackwell
Chairman of Interserve, consultancy to NHS and private healthcare firms. Involved in PFI hospitals. Company has entered new avenues within the care industry made possible by the Health and Social Care bill and by his vote on the bill. Voted to reject the removal of Section 75 regulations.

Private Equity:
Lord Patten of Barnes and BBC Chief - Adviser to private
equity firm Bridgepoint, who purchased Care UK – Have been involved in 17 healthcare deals over recent years – did not vote. See his article here.
Management consultancy: Lord Hamilton of Epsom - Has a directorship with MSB Ltd (managing consultancy), who have NHS, Bupa, Nuffield Health and CareUK listed as their clients. Quotes: 'My Lords, surely one of the problems of the National Health Service is the wall of money that was thrown at a totally unreformed NHS by the last Government? Do we not need management consultants now to show us the way forward.’ See article on him here. Voted to reject the removal of the Section 75 regulations.

Legal: Lord Clement-Jones
Managing partner with global law firm DLA Piper who provide lobbying services to clients in the health and social care sectors. Lord Clement-Jones nominated Lord Hameed for his peerage. Lord Hameed sits on the board of Alpha hospitals, part of the Alpha Healthcare (C&C Alpha/C&C business solutions) group. The Alpha group has made significant donations to the Liberal Democrat party. Voted to reject the removal of Section 75 regulations.

Shares: Baron Higgins
Holds in excess of £50,000 of shares in Lansdowne UK Equity Fund, backers of private hospital group Circle Holdings. Circle won the first contract to run a NHS hospital – they are advised by Conservative MP Mark Simmonds. Voted to reject the removal of Section 75 regulations.

Litigation: Lord Lang of Monkton
Conservative – Director of Marsh & McLennan Companies that “help hospitals, insurers, pharmaceutical companies and industry associations understand the implications of changing policy environments”. Head of ACOBA – a so-called independent body that advises on business appointments. See article on him and them here. Voted to reject the removal of Section 75 regulations.

Care Homes: Lord Popat
Founder of TLC group Ltd, who run private care homes. Lord Popat gave David Cameron a donation, as a gift, of £25,000 a week after the Conservatives’ unveiled their health ‘reforms’. David Cameron made the businessman a peer shortly after getting into 10 Downing street. Voted to reject the removal of Section 75 regulations.

Pharmaceutical Communications
– Lord Chadlington Chief Executive of Huntsworth Communications group – have major pharmaceutical companies as clients. Company gave £15,000 to Conservatives in August 2011, has given money every year since 2008. Labour’s Lord Puttnam is a director. Liberal Democrat’s Lord Alliance has shares. Neither member voted. For more on Lord Chadlington and Lord Alliance – see here and here.

Pathology: Lord Warner
An adviser to Pathology company, Synlab Ltd. He is a former adviser to Apax Partners, one of the leading global investors in the healthcare sector. Chose to vote against his party and with the coaltion (Labour).

Insurance: Lord Sharman
Chairman of Aviva, has directorship and Shareholdings in Aviva plc. Baroness McDonagh: Non Executive Director of Standard Life plc, which offers private health insurance. Did not vote.

Recruitment: Baroness Bottomley
Chair of Odgers Berndtson – recruitment company providing people for NHS Management positions. Shares in Broomco Ltd, a holding company of International Resources Group Ltd, which owns Odgers Berndston. Richard Boggis-Rolfe, the chairman of Odgers Berndtson, has given £207,500 in donations to the Conservative party between 28/09/2006 to 03/03/2010. Voted to reject the removal of Section 75 regulations.

Out of Hours: Lord Filkin (Labour)
Adviser to outsourcing giant Serco. Serco run out of hours services and were caught fiddling their data. Continue to be given contracts despite this. Did not vote.


  1. For the life of me, ive looked for an article where a Labour m.p kicked up about Warner being a member of the right wing think tank Reform, asked some Labour on twitter no response, no surprise.

    1. He offers them the opportunity to say they are balanced which is patently absurd. He is basically a free market capitalist who votes on behalf of big business.

  2. why don't financial interests disqualify them from voting?

    1. Please sign:

  3. Surely Blair was a free-market capitalist who liked big business and acted to help it, with no attempt to return to public ownership those sectors of the economy which clearly don't work in the private sector; e.g., railways. Having espoused Thatcherism since 1994, Labour has some difficulty in offering a credible alternative.

  4. On your page, there is an out of date link to the e-petition to call for an end to Lords voting on issues they have a vested interest in:

    Could you possibly flag on your page that this link is to to an updated e-petition:


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