Friday 23 November 2012

Reform – a voice for corporations – Bupa

Reform are a free market think tank who promote privatisation of public services. They have charitable status despite being heavily linked to the Conservative party, which is denied by the Charity Commission who recently chose to refuse to investigate the connections and denied they existed.

Social Investigations is producing a series of articles which looks at the corporations who fund Reform through a corporate partnership that exists because according to Reform:

'We are keen to involve corporate organisations in our research because their expertise is often left out of the Whitehall policy discussion.’

Dictionary definition of a charity:An organisation set up to provide help and raise money for those in need’.

Does Bupa need an extra voice?
Bupa are well connected. Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone the former Conservative Health Secretary also known as Virginia Bottomley is a Director of BUPA. This position did nothing to prevent the Baroness from debating and voting on the bill, influencing its outcome and helping it become an Act. When the Health and Social Care bill was introduced to the House of Lords, Baroness Bottomley said: ‘'I give this Bill an unequivocal and extraordinarily warm welcome.'  

Labour Peer, Lord Leitch is the Chairman of Bupa. When speaking on the Health bill in 2008, Mr Leitch said: ‘When we debate healthcare in the UK, all too often the focus is on the NHS alone. Yet the independent sector is more important than ever, providing services directly to patients, residents, insurers, and to the NHS itself. Going forward, all of us must think in terms of partnership, not rivalry.’

Other parliamentarian connections to Bupa are Conservative peer, Lord Edmiston, who has shares, Conservative peer, Lord Hamilton of Epsom, who has a directorship with MSB Ltd (managing consultancy), who have Bupa as a client and who had a complaint against him this year upheld. Labour Peer, Baronness Liddell, who is an associate member of Bupa, Lord Jones of Birmingham, who is an unpaid associate. Mark Simmonds, the Conservative MP, received £4,512.76 from Bupa for a 'fact finding visit'. Accepted 27/03/2009. Mark Simmonds is an advisor to Circle health and promotes the privatisation of hospitals.

Bupa left out of Whitehall discussion?
Bupa have met with Ed Davey to discuss employment relations in April 2011, in the same month they had a meeting with Chris Grayling to discuss ‘Get Britain Working’. In July 2011, they met with Stephen Green to discuss trade and investment.

In April 2005, Bupa gave written evidence on Telecare.  In February 2006, More written evidence was provided on treatment centres in which Bupa was involved.  In December 2008, they provided written evidence to the Health Committee on Top Up Fees.’ In October 2011, Bupa provided written evidence to the Health Committee, as well they might.

In addition, Bupa benefit from Reform’s ability to bring together key politicians, aided no doubt by the fact that Reform’s trustees have in the past donated to the Conservative party and the founders are also linked to the party. See more on that here. In May 2012, Bupa sat on a panel at a Reform Healthcare conference, which was attended by Andrew Lansley, and a further panel meeting in June with NHS Confederation Chief Executive, Mike farrar.  

Bupa have multiple links to power, revenues last year rose to £3.9bn, they have support from Reform, who connect them to politicians through conferences and panel discussions. Reform consistently promote a move to further heath insurance with deputy director of Reform, Nick Seddon, calling for an out and out health insurance system.  The problem is not that the government seek the advice of Bupa’s expertise, but that Reform claim they are not involved in Whitehall policy discussion. This is a lie.

For more on this subject and Reform:

1 comment:

  1. BUPA are very good at passing their members to the NHS and saving themselves a fortune. I would be interested in contact with like minded people that might wish to see such an organization exposed.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.