And now what?
I’m getting a little tired of being told by well meaning and optimistic tweeters that everything is going to be alright with our NHS because Theresa May has promised to give it £20.5 billion. How very generous she is, now we can all stop worrying. To make me even more sad, Channel 4 news broadcast a student debate last night about the current state of the NHS in which far, far too many had been conned by the propaganda and believed what Theresa May was saying.
But is she really telling us the truth, and will she really honour her promise? Neither are by any means certain. It’s a little too easy to promise things if you want to win votes.
This is the point at which we need to look at the actions of Mrs May and her parliamentary friends and that might give us a better indication of what they really intend.
So what have they all been doing since the Tories came to power?
Simon Stevens the Chief Executive of NHS England use to lead United Health which is an American for-profit managed health care company based in Minnetonka, Minnesota, ranked number 5 on the Fortune 500 rankings of the largest United States corporations. This was what was said about Stevens in 2013 when he worked for them:
“His responsibilities include leading UnitedHealth’s strategy for, and engagement with, national health reform,” – or to put it another way ‘NHS privatisation’ – “ensuring its businesses are positioned for changes in the market” – you bet! “and regulatory environment.”
While in opposition as health spokesman, Andrew Lansley accepted a donation of £21,000 from John Nash, the chairman of private healthcare provider Care UK and founder of the private equity fund Sovereign Capital, which owns several other private healthcare companies, to help fund his private office, leading to allegations of a conflict of interest.
The current health minister Matt Hancock was criticised in the Evening Standard in November 2018 after appearing to endorse a mobile phone health app marketed by the subscription health service company Babylon Healthcare. Babylon allegedly sponsored the newspaper article.Justin Madders wrote to Theresa May accusing Hancock of repeatedly endorsing the products of a company that receives NHS funds for patients it treats, which contravenes ministerial guidelines.
The great Richard Branson of Virgin Care is well ahead of the field. He has already been awarded almost £2bn worth of NHS contracts over the past five years and his company has quietly become one of the UK’s leading healthcare providers, as the Guardian discovered. That’s £2 billion pounds of our money from NICs and our taxes that should have gone to the NHS and went straight into his pocket.
In one year alone Virgin Care, won deals potentially worth £1bn to provide services around England, making it the biggest winner among private companies bidding for NHS work over the period. The company and its subsidiaries now hold at least 400 contracts across the public sector – ranging from healthcare in prisons to school immunisation programmes and dementia care for the elderly.
This aggressive expansion into the public sector means that around a third of the turnover for Virgin’s UK companies now appear to be from government contracts. And the sad thing is that there are still people who don’t know what he and others like him are doing, even though we were all warned that that was what was coming way back in 2010.
In that year, a man called Mark Britnell, who was the Chair of KPMG Health spoke to a meeting of American private health firms. What he had to say was hideously clear and, to its eternal credit, the Guardian/Observer reported it word for word. This is what he said:-
‘In future, the NHS will be a state insurance provider and not a state deliverer.’
‘The NHS will be shown no mercy and the best time to take advantage of this will be in the next couple of years.’
You might well be wondering who KPMG are, if you look them up you will find that they are a “professional service company” and one of the Big Four auditors, along with Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Seated in Amstelveen, the Netherlands, KPMG employs 207,050 people and has three lines of services: financial audit, “tax and advisory” or to put it another way advising the monstrously rich how to avoid paying tax in any part of the world. Their revenue in 2018 was 28.96 billion US Dollars or 22.72bn pounds. Nice work if you can get it and don’t forget these guys are trampling all over the rest of us. We can’t afford auditors and we have to pay our tax in full and on time.
Smart cookies the KPMG. It is now a ‘supplier of services’ to six of the nine NHS consortia which the government instructed the NHS to set up. In 2014 the Greater East Midland Commissioning Support Group, paid KPMG a quarter of a million pounds every month in the first six months of 2014 for ‘services’. Money, as they used to say when I was a kid, for old rope. And they’re not the only wealthy firms in the private health business to take advantage of this enforced privatisation, Ernst and Young are another.
I think this is crooked. I think these guys and others like them are ripping us off. I think they are being encouraged by our government. I think people need to know a great deal more about what is going on behind the scenes. We have votes, thanks to the Chartists and the Suffragettes but to be able to use them wisely we need to be fully informed and so well aware of propaganda, however well presented, that we’re not sucked in by it.