Posts Tagged ‘Clause 119’

Health Regulator Schmoozed by Lobbying Companies

March 22, 2014

David Bennett monitor pic

David Bennett of the Government Healthcare Regulator Monitor – now enjoying company largesse with private healthcare firms.

This fortnight’s issue of Private Eye for the 21 March – 3rd April also contains a story about the way the health regulator, Monitor, is being approached and its chief executive, David Bennett, taken out to a variety of cultural events, by a series of lobbying companies.

Monitor is the government body in charge of supervising the closures, mergers and take-overs that will now occur after the passage of Clause 119. The Eye states that these will become more common as health budgets are further cut and more NHS Trusts are forced into deficit. The health regulator has the duty of ‘promoting provision of healthcare services which is economic, efficient and effective, and maintains or improves the quality of services’. It is therefore required to consider improving competition and the integration of services. The Eye states that judging ‘by the pro-marketization companies schmoozing its senior officials (most of whom are themselves former management consultants), however, competition is likely to win over cooperation every time’.

Monitors chief executive, David Bennett, who was formerly a partner in McKinsey Ross, has been treated to a variety of artistic and cultural events.

Boston Consulting, a US consultancy with a large and expanding health care business over here, took him to the Royal Academy, as did BUPA and FTI Economics. KPMG, who now employ Mark Britnell, who was previously the NHS’ commercial director, took him to a Radiohead concert at the O2 arena. They also took him to a number of receptions and dinners. One of these was for the chief medical officer of the US hospital group, Virginia Mason. BUPA took him to their ‘stakeholder dinner’, as well as a series of receptions for former employees of McKinsey.

Adrian Masters, Monitor’s Strategy Director, was also taken to lunch by Public Projects policy. This organisation describes their ‘central theme’ as “shifting responsibility for the provision of services and systems to independent sector partners’ – in other words, privatisation. Masters is also a former consultant with McKinsey.

Lastly, the Eye mentions that staff from PwC, who advise struggling NHS trusts, also took Monitor’s ‘managing director, provider regulation’ to Lords for the cricket match between England and New Zealand.

The report can be read on page. 20.

In other words, it’s an example of the soft corruption all too common in British politics, in which the heads of government bodies are taken to agreeable lunches and other events by the very people they are supposed to regulate. This case is especially offensive given the fact that all the companies involved are hoping for a piece of the rapidly privatised NHS. As was revealed this week, even the Tories recognise that the public do not want the NHS to be privatised. But nevertheless, as it looks like it’s going to be immensely profitable, they’re pushing ahead for it anyway.