Wednesday 6 June 2012

2020health Patrons and their vested interests

2020health claims to be an 'independent', think tank. It isn't. In total, they have 4 patrons, all Peers from the House of Lords, and all with financial links to companies involved in private healthcare. In one case, one of the Peers, Baroness Cumberlege, put her company into a position to make money from the reforms before the Act had been passed.
2020Health Patrons

The Four Peers are Conservative Peer, Lord McColl, was a paid a fee as a consultant to a new private healthcare company that provides a fee-paying rival to the National Health Service’s family doctor service. Endeavour Health, which was set up by two hedge fund advisers, and claims to be Britain’s first comprehensive GP network, offering opportunities to ‘beat NHS queues’ and have appointments at any time they want.’  

Baroness Cumberlege, who will be familiar to readers of this blog, runs her own training and consultancy company called Cumberlege Connections, the Conservative Peer moved herself into an alliance led by PwC, developing the new Clinical Commissioning Groups, prior to the Health and Social care bill becoming an Act. In addition, the former health secretary is chair of the Associate Parliamentary Health Group, which holds meetings under the Chatham House rules, which means no minutes are taken, even though the quarterly meetings are attended by multiple private health companies.

Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Rennard is another patron, who is also a Director of British Healthcare Trades Association, (BHTA) a trade association set up to ensure the market for healthcare and assistive technologies is competitive, profitable and well-regulated. They work in partnership with industry, government, and other stakeholders. The Coalition Peer set up a communications company with his wife called Rennard & McTegart Ltd, and through this company they provide public affairs advice to the BHTA.

Lord Tim Clement-Jones, and Liberal Democratic Peer, is the final patron, of the ‘independent’ think tank, who is a partner in DLA Piper, a global law firm providing lobbying services to “clients in the health and social care sectors”. DLA Piper counts Southern Cross amongst its clients. Lord Clement-Jones nominated Lord Hameed for his peerage, a nomination supported by Lord Dholakia. 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. In 2008, Lord Clement-Jones was the party treasurer. The Times exposed Lord Clement-Jones as being the man who nominated Lord Hameed, after the peer had originally said he had 'no idea.'

Just in case you were in any doubt about the independence of 2020health’s position on NHS matters, then a blog article in the Daily Mail written by the think tank’s Chief Executive Julia Manning, should dispel any of those thoughts. The article titled: ‘Andrew Lansley must spell out the importance of private enterprise to the NHS’, A significant problem for the economy is that confidence for investors in healthcare in the UK is being massively damaged both by the short-sighted, protectionist opposition to competition that is being driven by the health unions… The NHS has a track record of making flawed policy work, and it wouldn’t be where it is today without competition and private investment.’ Andrew Lansley is a fan, endorsing the website with this quote: 2020health '"Providing valuable impact on policy."

Finally; former 2020Health Chairman, Tom Sackville – a former Conservative minister – is the current CEO of the International Federation of Health Plans, which represents one hundred private health insurance companies in 31 countries. Not only this, they also have a hidden membership list, which I have suggested contains health insurance companies. They haven't denied this and despite repeated requests for them to publish their members, they have not.

'Independent' eh!

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