Thursday 24 May 2012

Tory Lord is Partner of Company Making Money from GP Group Development and Sponsor of Healthinvestors Award

An award ceremony for companies involved in private healthcare, is being sponsored by a company who has a Conservative Lord as their partner, and who moved their company in a position to make money form the healthcare reforms as the Health and Social Care bill was being debated in the Lords.

The Healthinvestors awards are described by the website as being ‘the biggest night of the year for the independent health sector.’ Their claim is accurate, as the list of last years attendees reads like a who’s, who in the private healthcare sector, including ‘key names from across the political and commercial spectrum.’

One attendee of this year’s event, taking place in the swanky Grosvenor hotel, London on May 31st is certain to be one of the sponsors, the international law firm Beachcroft, who came to the attention of Social Investigations when it was discovered that as the Health and Social Care bill was being debated in the House of Lords, Beachcroft positioned itself into an alliance led by Capita, which was making money from developing the new Clinical Commissioning groups (CCGs).

Lord Hunt of Wirral
Beachcroft, like so many organisations involved in healthcare, has a parliamentarian in their ranks, and this case it is Lord Hunt of Wirral. The Tory Peer was a senior partner at Beachcroft Wansboroughs now DAC Beachcroft from 1996 until 2005, whereupon he became chairman of the firm’s financial services division. He is now a partner of the firm.

When speaking in a House of Lords debate on health in October 2010, he said: ‘Many of the Government's commitments will require primary legislation, and a Bill is due to be introduced later this year which will attract considerable attention not only from within the NHS but from firms in the private health sector and from professional advisers.’

Seven months before the Conservative Peer made that statement, and five months before the government publically released their White Paper: Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS: Beachcroft were busy strengthening their healthcare team. In an article appearing in the lawyer, it revealed how Beachcroft were raiding a ‘10-strong team of lawyers from Halliwells’ healthcare practice.’ Head of healthcare Nigel Montgomery told the lawyer: “It [healthcare] is absolutely a growth area and has grown substantially over the last three years,”

Further depth to their healthcare team was made following the appointment of partner Eve Gregory, from legal giant Eversheds, a firm that had already lost a five-strong health team in the health sector to Beachcroft in 2008.

Beachcroft’s influence cannot be overstated, with the law firm having over 300 health clients; Beachcroft is one of the largest commercial law firms in the UK and is widely regarded as the leading legal adviser to the health and social care sector. In July this year, Peter Lee, former Partner and now consultant at Beachcroft, was appointed Chairman of The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust. In the same month, the NHS Commercial Alliance, a new procurement partnership set up in 2010, selected 11 law firms in one of the largest legal services framework agreements in the country, valued at £20m for up to four years. The framework agreement, which was awarded last month, covers eight lots, and Beachcroft are represented in every one of them.

Lord Hunt is not the only parliament representative they’ve had; Charles Clarke – the former Labour MP for Norwich South was once listed as a consultant to Beachcroft LLP. The MP was roundly condemned by those on the left of the party for his statement suggesting people should be charged for 'peripheral treatments'.

Beachcroft who have just launched a new updated guide for Clinical Commissioning Groups at the beginning of April, are all set to make money from the continued CCG development process. Capita who have won multiple contracts to develop the new CCGs, are leading the way, sponsoring the Clinical Commissioning conference titled: ‘‘Defining Our Future’, taking place today (24th April) in London.

Perhaps it goes without saying, but say it I will, Lord Hunt of Wirral was able to vote on the Health and Social care bill, and vote he did; loyally with the government in all key divisions. His connection to a company involved in private healthcare makes him one of the 27% of Conservative Lords with such interests.

Beachcroft are listed as a 2012 finalist at the awards under the category ‘Legal advisors of the year – private’, I suspect their chances of winning are rather good.

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