“Malicious and defamatory” – Tories deny £1.5bn NHS “sell-off scandal”


Private healthcare companies with links to Conservative MPs have won £1.5bn worth of contracts in the past two years.

Research by Unite, the UK’s largest union, has found 24 Conservative MPs and peers who backed health reforms, including David Cameron, are linked to 15 private healthcare firms.

The research includes politicians who have a financial stake in private health companies and those who have received donations from the companies, who all voted in favour of the Health and Social Care Act in 2012 – something Unite labelled an NHS “sell-off scandal”.

Unite highlighted a number of cases where donations had been made to senior Tories by those who owned private health companies or by their spouse. For example, former Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, who co-wrote the Health and Social Care Bill, received £21,000 from Caroline Nash, the wife of John Nash, chairman of Care UK. The private firm has £657m-worth of NHS contracts.

Around £12bn of former NHS services have been privatised so far, said Unite general secretary Len McCluskey.

He said: “David Cameron promised there would be no top-down reorganisation of the NHS but he lied. How can we be in a situation where dozens of his MPs voted for the sell-off act and had links to private healthcare companies, knowing this would open up new opportunities for the companies that pay them?

“The next election will be make or break for our NHS. It is clear what Cameron’s preferred path is – an American style health system,” McCluskey added.

The Tory party strongly denied doing anything wrong, telling The Guardian: “Any suggestion of impropriety is malicious and defamatory and will be treated as such.”

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