Vested interests

There is a wide range of individuals and organisations that have financial or other interests the restructuring and increased privatisation of the NHS

The invisible hand behind the changes to the NHS

Lots of people have vested interests in the NHS ‘reforms’ taking shape.

  • International private health care companies who have been involved for some years in advising the government on how to dismantle the NHS are also likely to gain commercial benefits from the ‘reformed’ system. Many such companies are clients of consultancy firms such as McKinsey and Company.

[This particular international management consultancy is said to have particularly close links to the Conservative party, to have offered officials generous hospitality, and to have played a significant role in shaping and implementing the dismantling of the NHS.–Companys-role-Andrew-Lansleys-proposals.html.  The financial rewards for McKinsey have been enormous (estimated at hundreds of millions).

  • It is not uncommon for government ministers to go to work for private companies after they leave office. Andrew Lansley, for example, previously Secretary of State for Health and one of the chief architects of the marketisation of the NHS, has been employed by US based management consultants Bain & Co to advise its clients on ‘innovation in healthcare’. Rules governing such appointments stipulate that it’s not OK to become personally involved in lobbying or to use any privileged information gained from time in government – at least for two years after leaving office.
  • There is what’s been called a ‘revolving door culture’ in the civil service, with a continual exchange of staff between the Department of Health and private healthcare companies and consultants, such as McKinsey, BUPA, Dr Foster, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, blurring the boundary between the public and private sectors. (see  For instance, Simon Stevans (advisor to Tony Blair and Alan Milburn, Labour  Health Minister 1997-98), left the NHS in 2004 to work in the USA for multinational health insurance company UnitedHealth. He returned in 2014 to become Chief Executive Officer of NHS England.
  • There are also numerous lobbying firms who not only attempt to shape government policy but who also seem to have close links to politicians and parliamentary staff. For example, the consultancy firm McKinsey sponsored the head of the Care Quality Commission, Lord Prior (now NHS Productivity Minister), to visit private health facilities in the USA ( McKinsey provides an increasing number of NHS services, including commissioning, as well as advising private health care companies.

To see how corporate lobbying works, see and for information on the links between lobbyists and parliament see “The Health Industry Lobby Tour” (below).

For further details of the network of interests, see

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