A study by Unite lists 71MPs who voted in favour of the controversial Health and Social Care Act in 2012 which aimed to privatise large sectors of the NHS, ahead of this Friday’s vote on the Private Members’ Bill, where decisions over whether portions of the act should stand will take place.
The chief proponent behind the privatisation is Andrew Lansley, who accepted a £21,000 donation from John Nash, the former chairman of Care UK. Similarly, his replacement, Jeremy Hnunt, received more than £20,000 from baron Andrew Law, a major investor in health care firms. This is by no means a comprehensive list, and the study shows a list of over 70 MPs who have ties to private healthcare companies.
The level of vested interest here is concerning for those looking for a fair vote on an important, foundational issue in current British government. As PPE and HSPS students will know, however, the conflict of interest expressed on this one issue is not new for the UK and nor for the world. Avoiding corruption is the most important role in balancing necessary funding by private bodies, and making political decisions that are not influenced by this.
We must understand both from the medicine perspective how important bills like this are and the weight that must be placed on MPs to make impartial decisions, but also on governments to understand the role of lobbying as an entrenched aspect of the parliamentary system.