A private health firm is set to rake in millions from a shake-up of the NHS – eight months after the boss’s wife donated £21,000 to Tory health secretary Andrew Lansley.
Care UK expects to earn a fortune in the biggest reform of the NHS for 60 years as private companies win a lucrative role in providing services to local GPs.
As one of the UK’s biggest healthcare providers, it already runs GP surgeries, NHS walk-in centres and cares for half a million people a year.
And Mr Lansley faces accusations of a conflict of interest for accepting a donation from the wife of John Nash, chairman of Care UK at the time of the donation.
The row comes amid warnings that Mr Lansley’s shake-up will cost thousands of jobs and represents a giant gamble with the nation’s health.
There is also mounting anger that not a word of his plans was put before voters at the election.
Nor was it mentioned in the Tories’ coalition agreement with the Lib Dems.
The Health Secretary accepted Caroline Nash’s money in November to help pay for the running of his private office. The hand-out came just weeks after her husband predicted future Government policy would help make his company – which earns 96 per cent of its money from the NHS – even richer.
Mr Nash stood down as chairman in March, when Care UK sold out to a private equity firm, but he is still a consultant. Unite’s nursing spokesman Barrie Brown said: “These dangerous and untested ConDem plans will see private companies given an even greater stake in the NHS.
“And it is particularly alarming how one of the biggest private healthcare firms out there could be so closely aligned to Mr Lansley.”
Dr John Lister, of campaign group Health Emergency, added: “The fact that the man in charge of dismantling the NHS has taken cash from one of the companies looking to profit from his plans stinks.” Under Mr Lansley’s plans announced last week, primary care trusts will be scrapped and family doctors given £80billion to spend.
Now private companies are gearing up to help GPs manage their new roles in a market worth up to £500million.
A spokesman for Care UK said yesterday: “The donation was from our former chairman’s wife, who we understand regularly makes donations to the Conservative Party.”
This post was first published on The Mirror