.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Tory health spokesperson in cash row

Today's Times says that the Conservative health team is being funded by the wife of the chairman of one of Britain’s largest private hospital companies.

They say that, according to official registers, Andrew Lansley, the Shadow Health Secretary, received £21,000 in November from Caroline Nash, wife of John Nash, the chairman of Care UK. Mrs Nash works with her husband running a charity to help the underprivileged young. The charity also sponsors an academy school in Pimlico, Central London.

Care UK runs a network of GP practices, NHS walk-in centres, out-of-hours services and NHS treatment centres. The company says that 96 per cent of its business, amounting to more than £400 million last year, came from the NHS.

The paper adds that Care UK would be well placed to benefit from a Conservative promise to make it easier for private providers to perform more NHS work: The Tory draft manifesto, released last week, says: “We will open up the NHS to include new independent and voluntary-sector providers — if they can deliver a service that patients want, to a high standard and within the NHS tariff, they should be allowed to do so.”

The Times reports that Mrs Nash is a regular Tory donor, who together with her husband, has given a further £107,000 since 2006, most often contributing to the campaign to unseat the Labour MP in Hammersmith, Andrew Slaughter.

Mr Nash, 60, last gave money in December 2006, according to the Electoral Commission. He was the founder, in 1988, of the private equity fund Sovereign Capital, which owns several healthcare companies, as well as the independent schools group Alpha Plus. The couple have not previously given to Mr Lansley’s office.

Clearly, no rules or laws have been broken here and everything is above board but even the appearance of a conflict of interest does not instil confidence in the future of the NHS under the Tories. It also highlights once more the need to reform the funding of political parties.
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?