Showing posts with label 'Nick Seddon'. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 'Nick Seddon'. Show all posts

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Welcome to the House of Circle

Nick Seddon formerly of Circle
The recent speech by the government plant in the Care Quality Commission, David Prior, has called for NHS Trusts who have fallen into financial difficulty to be taken over by European or American ‘Hospital Chains’. 

Such a move would present new opportunities to Circle Health, the first company to takeover the running of a NHS hospital and a company that is embedded into the highest areas of government influence. Not only is a former  Circle employee writing the health policy for No10, but another of their former staff is health adviser to Jeremy Hunt. If you add the donations ending up in the local office of the policy unit head, then you could say No10 is now the House of Circle.

A secret plan to hand over NHS hospitals to foreign companies was initially exposed by the transparency campaigners, Spinwatch in 2011. A Freedom of Information release unearthed communications between management consultancy firm McKinsey and the Department of Health, which revealed how over 20 NHS hospitals should be taken over by foreign firms. This process should be done with a “mindset of one at a time…because of various political constraints associated with privatisation.”

In David Prior’s speech made at a health seminar in London last week, the former Conservative Chief Executive cited the private hospital company, Circle, who took over the running of Hitchingbrooke hospital back in 2011, as being a model that could be followed for such a process.

This sentiment was one that was shared by fellow Conservative MP Mark Simmonds who landed his role as strategic adviser to Circle in December 2010. This new position was taken up just five months after he had finished his role as Shadow Health Secretary. The blog ‘NHS Vault’ revealed that within a report written by the Hitchingbrooke Health Care NHS Trust Chief Executive's & Franchise Representatives, Simmonds visited the hospital in July 2012 and told those in attendance, “In this hospital you can change the way the NHS works, in my view for the better, you are at the frontier of the way healthcare is going to be provided in the future.”

The support of Circle within government is also supported by their presence in the heart of government policy. Nick Seddon, is a former Head of Communications for Circle, who moved to the free market think tank Reform as deputy director. Reform are heavily funded by private healthcare, which includes private hospital groups.

Whilst at Reform, Seddon was highly active lobbying alongside private healthcare to ensure competition remained int he Health and Social care bill. In addition, he called for an increase in private companies taking over NHS hospitals, which was part of a campaign by Reform backed by the Telegraph who helped promote Circle's model.  David Cameron, who had said lobbying would be the 'next big scandal' decided to hand a healthcare lobbyist a role in the health policy unit at No10.

This is not the only influence Circle have in the echelons of government health policy. Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt chose to hire Christina Robinson, another former Head of Communications at Circle as his special adviser.

The direction of where health policy is going couldn’t be clearer, but it isn’t just there where Circle has representation in government policy. Conservative MP for Orpington Jo Johnson, was made head of the No10 Policy unit leading up until the next general election. His constituency office received £6,000 just after the election, in July 2010, from Robin Crispin Odey a major investor in Circle.

Robin Odey, whose asset management company is based in the tax haven of the Cayman Islands has given the Conservative party £251,000 – some of which has ended up in local constituencies.

Incidentally, all the MPs listed below who have been in receipt of donations from Mr Odey, were able to vote on the recent amendment to the Care bill that allows Jeremy Hunt to close or downgrade hospitals.

As if this wasn’t enough, Conservative peer Baron Higgins of Worthing holds in excess of £50,000 worth of shares in Lansdowne UK Equity Fund, another investor in Circle.

The House of Commons or rather, Circle and their external plants in organisations like the CQC are now calling for more private hospitals to be handed out to foreign companies. Circle will be delighted to hear such news, who currently remain in the running for another takeover of a NHS hospital in Nuneaton alongside Care UK.

The government (House of Circle) treats the electorate with contempt and here is why.

They plan policy in secret with management consultancy companies who themselves have private healthcare clients and with whom they share information.

Corporate lobby groups such as Reform, who help write their policy, are masquerading as charitable think tanks to push policy that opens revenues for their corporate backers.

Cameron choose to hire a corporate lobbyist into his policy unit.

The rules are not fit for purpose
MPs who through their constituency offices are in receipt of money from an investor in Circle, and were allowed to vote on a clause that will allow the closure and downgrading of NHS hospitals.

The MPs who have received funds from Robin Crispin Odey and voted on Clause 119 - the hospital closure clause: Source - Electoral Commission

GRAHAM, Richard, Mr - Gloucester - His constituency office received £3,000 from Circle investor, Mr Robin Crispin Odey on 03/12/2007. Richard Graham was elected MP for Gloucester at the last general election and like Odey has previously worked for Barings bank, which went bust in 1995. Vote on Clause 119.

HARPER, Mark, Mr - Forest of dean: Electoral commission records show his constituency office received £5,000 on 09/02/2010 from Circle investor Mr Robin Crispin Odey just 3 months before the general election. Vote on Clause 119.

JOHNSON, Joseph - Orpington. According to the electoral Commission - the brother of Boris Johnson's constituency office received £6,000 on 19th July 2010, to his constituency office from Robin Crispin Odey an investor in circle who run Hitchingbrooke hospital. He now sits in the No10 policy adviser unit. Vote on Clause 119.

KWARTENG, Kwasi, Mr - Worked for Odey Asset Management hedge fund as an analyst who invest in Circle health who run the Hitchingbrooke hospital. The hedge fund is run by Robin Crispin William Odey who has donated to the Conservative party since 2007. Mr Kwateng's constituency office received £10,000 from Odey Asset Management on 12th September 2011 for consultancy work for political advice to asset managers, which included ‘domestic affairs’. Vote on Clause 119.
NORMAN, Jesse, Mr - Hereford and South Herefordshire. According to the Electoral Commission, Mr Norman's office received £5,000 on 30th June 2009 from Circle healthcare investor Crispin Odey to his local Hereford constituency. Vote on Clause 119.

REES-MOGG, Jacob, Mr - MP for North-East Somerset - According to the electoral Commission, his office received £2,000 to his constituency office on the 14th April, 2010 from Mr Robin Crispin Odey, a hedge funder who has invested in Circle healthcare. Vote on Clause 119.

SOAMES, Nicholas, Hon - According to the electoral Commission, his office received £2,000 on 11th May 2010, from Crispin Odey who is an investor of Circle Health. Vote for Clause 119.

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Monday, 13 May 2013

"We can't go on like this" - Cameron Hires Lobbyist Into the Heart of Government

Number 10 today welcomes Nick Seddon, former lobbyist and private healthcare advocate, into Downing Street to lead on health policy formation. What does this say about Cameron’s real attitude to the lobbying game he has publicly decried? And what kind of policies will Seddon be pushing now? There are good reasons to be concerned.
before the general election, David Cameron declared his opposition to  lobbying, saying “we all know how it works. The lunches, the hospitality, the quiet word in your ear, the ex-ministers and ex-advisors for hire... It arouses people’s worst fears and suspicions about how our political system works, with money buying power, power fishing for money and a cosy club at the top making decisions in their own interest...We can't go on like this”

Today, Number 10 will welcome former lobbyist Nick Seddon into the heart of Downing Street, as his health adviser. Seddon’s last role was as deputy director of ‘Reform’ - a free market think tank extensively funded by healthcare and insurance companies. He has openly called for an end to the NHS as we know it, and promoted the idea of an insurance-based system.

Before joining Reform, Nick Seddon was head of communications at private healthcare company Circle - the first company to take over the running of a NHS hospital. 

His role during the passage of the Health and Social Care bill was to lobby key people to defend competition in the bill. His reward? A place in Cameron’s health policy unit,  developing  policies for the 2015 general election.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Cameron Accepted NHS Future Forum’s Recommendations before the Report was Finished

Just in case you were left with any doubts that the so-called ‘listening period’ was a genuine attempt to er…listen, then another dose of evidence has come to light, that will surely cure such crazy thoughts.

The evidence comes in the form of a post written on the blog by the head of the ‘Choice and Competition’ working group of the NHS Future Forum, Sir Stephen Bubb.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Reform - Setting the Agenda with Unknown Others

Reform is a right-wing think tank that claims to be ‘independent’. Like many think tanks they have charity status, although when you look at their work, it is hard to see where the charitable part exists. They are setting the agenda for our public services in meetings that only they know who was in attendance.

Reform has and continues to be influential in the attacks on the NHS. A document written by the health lobby group the NHS Partners Network revealed Reform’s involvement in setting up meetings with key players of the NHS Future Forum and Monitor during the ‘health bill ‘pause’.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Telegraph, the Think Tank and a Very Dodgy Business

"And the whole sequence of Telegraph articles and editorials on the importance of the Government not going soft on public service reform, including some strong pieces on health, is something I have been orchestrating and working with Reform to bring about.’ - David Worskett – Director of NHS Partners Network – Communication document written on 20th May 2011

This extraordinary sentence is written by the director of private health lobby group David Worskett, as part of an overall feedback for the NHS Partners Network’s members towards the end of so-called ‘listening period’ in the Health bills passage.