The article "Our" NHS (October 2015) by film director and producer John Furse, a resident of Kensington and Chelsea, argues that behind the trusted logo "our" NHS is becoming "their" NHS, its services increasingly outsourced to private sector providers. And at a far greater cost to the NHS than if it remained its own provider... Is it surprising that NHS costs, as a percentage of GDP, have doubled since the first major privatisation legislation in 1990?
It includes biographies of the Chairman, Sir Richard Sykes, and directors of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust. Their backgrounds, with the exception of the chairman, are exclusively in the financial/ hedge fund/ large accountancy firms sector.
Sir Richard is a prominent biochemist, his CV includes chairmanships of GlaxoSmithKline and currently three biotech/health tech companies.
He’s also chair of think-tank Reform, who want total public spending cut along with taxes so that individuals can provide for their own healthcare needs and obtain high quality services more ‘efficiently’. Paying for your GP visits is one of their wheezes.
....The Imperial Trust has other non-executive private sector notables on its board – Jeremy Isaacs, founder of hedge fund JRJ, with an arm in tax haven Jersey. His CV includes spells as a Goldman Sachs director and a Lehman’s overseas CEO until 2008, Lehman’s annus implodius. He is joined by Rothschild executive vice chairman Dr Andreas Raffelm, and Sarika Patel, partner in Zeus Capital, an investment bank heavily into infrastructure and real estate, who are also Imperial Trust board members.
Patel has held ‘key roles’ at accountancy giant Grant Thornton. Such accountancy behemoths are the ‘fixers’ between corporate and investment big hitters and their targets. Imperial has a biggie in Sir Gerald Acher, a senior partner at mega auditors KPMG.
With friends like these, who needs enemies?
The directors of the Chelsea and Westminster Trust are less well-known to supporters of Charing Cross hospital, so it's worth reproducing these biographies here:
Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s non-executive chair is Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallett, a former banker who promotes the line that “The NHS can’t afford to treat us all for free. It’s time we paid for our care”. Begging the obvious question that if we could bail out his lot, why not the NHS?
His vice-chair is Sir John Baker, whose CV includes leading the UK electricity privatisation programme before becoming CEO of privatised National Power plc. Chelsea & Westminster Trust non-executive director is Jeremy Jensen, director of Aaronite Partners, specialists at ‘restructuring’ distressed businesses. He’s also director of MPG Hospital Holdings who own, operate, and lease UK hospitals. Adding her mergers and acquisitions expertise is former BP exec Eliza Hermann.
....a publicly funded and serviced NHS is far cheaper than a privatised one. Bank bailouts and Quantitative Easing (QE) have been a revelation – governments can actually print billions without causing rampant inflation or the collapse of their currencies.
Whether through QE, taxes, and/or bonds, our government could in fact fully fund the NHS, particularly with interest rates set to remain at historic lows. It’s also an investment that produces tens of thousands of jobs, healthy workers, and consumers old and young with spending power to stimulate the economy.
But the NHS, like most of our politicians, has been infected by 30 years of a free-market ideology whose true workings have been exposed by the 2008 Banking Crash and its aftermath. The boards of our local hospitals are overseeing the turning over of NHS assets and services to the private sector are symptomatic of that infection.