Over one in four governing members of the Tory designed NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which have responsibility for a budget of £65 billion, have links to a private company involved in healthcare.

The comprehensive study carried out by Unite, has uncovered how financial interests are ‘running amok’ threatening the trust between GP and patient and the NHS because of the Health and Social Care Act.

The Health and Social Care Act gave CCGs ​ responsibility for commissioning services and in doing so opened the door to conflicts of interest on a massive scale. CCGs are clinically led groups with GP representatives from their geographical area, managers and lay persons.

This is the first comprehensive study of the new NHS commissioners’ external financial interests in private healthcare and proves that vested interests lie at the heart of the government’s Health and Social Care Act.

Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey said: “The Tory designed Health and Social Care Act handed the NHS budget, worth tens of billions, over to Clinical Commissioning Groups and in doing so, created a monster, where personal financial interests run amok.

“As a result our NHS is being privatised and unless David Cameron uses his veto to get the NHS out of the EU-US trade deal TTIP, the government’s sell-off will be irreversible.

“The £3 billion redesign has not only wasted taxpayers’ money and benefitted Tory donors but damaged the very fabric of our NHS. The Health and Social Care Act must be repealed and Cameron must use his veto to get the NHS out of TTIP.”

Dr Ron Singer, chair of the Doctors’ section of Unite said:The Health and Social Care Act forced GPs into a business model that the vast majority did not want.

“Most GPs want to spend their time caring for their patients not tendering out services and being part of a bidding war.

The government’s health act has created opportunities for exploitation by some CCG board members. At the same time some  GPs have decided to become CCG members as a way to defend NHS services from privatisation and fragmentation. 

​“The government’s HSCA is a disaster and is fit for the dustbin of history​.”

Unite looked at the registered interests of 3,392 CCG board members, the most extensive research of these interests undertaken.

Of the 3,392 Board Members, 932 (27%) of CCG board members were found to have a link to a private company involved in healthcare including: 513 Company Directors, 140 business owners, 105 external work, 17 Partners, 15 Chairs, 10 Company Secretaries, 5 CEOs, 1 Trustee, 1 Financial Officer and 125 others including consultants.

The study also found 409 (12%) board members are shareholders in such companies; a combination of businesses they own and external private companies, including providers of ‘Out of Hours Services’.

Come and add your voice to the Save the NHS demo in Leeds on March 28th.