Lobbying rules 'a shoddy farce'

Independent inquiry into NHS lobbying urgently needed, says Unite

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There should be a rapid independent inquiry into the growing lobbying scandal that is engulfing the NHS, Unite said today (April 19)

Unite said the need for the inquiry was made more urgent by weekend media reports regarding Greensill Capital’s extensive lobbying for the Earnd app which would have enabled NHS staff to be paid daily.

Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, said that any recommendations by such an independent inquiry should be cemented in legislation.

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said, “It is abundantly clear that the current rules around lobbying and access to ministers do not work – and have been shown to be a shoddy farce.

“A rapid independent inquiry into these disturbing incidences and abuses must be established without delay, and the findings and recommendations implemented in law, without procrastination,” he added.

“NHS staff, who have toiled heroically through this pandemic and who now must deal with an enormous backlog of patients’ demands, will be horrified to discover that while they battled to save lives those connected by political links to this government were focusing on how they could line their pockets.

“It is extremely disturbing that the secretary of state for health and social care Matt Hancock is himself making money from NHS contracts,” Jarrett-Thorpe continued. “He cannot be considered a defender and protector of our health service with this conflict of interests and should divest himself of those shares immediately.

“And why was he engaged in any way on a pay day loan scheme when the issue that ought to have concerned him is why NHS staff cannot make it through the month without needing a loan?

“Addressing chronic low pay across the NHS should be his priority, not cosy drinks with sharp-elbowed lobbyists seeking access to our public sector,” he went on to say. “A good first step would be to up the government’s insulting one per cent pay rise recommendation for NHS staff in England.

“One thing is clear, we cannot trust Boris Johnson’s government to protect and preserve our health service. They have too many fingers in too many business pies to give the public confidence that they are not abusing their offices in order to serve the profiteers.

“Cover-up inquiries won’t cut it for NHS staff and patients, though. The only way to keep our NHS safe and in public hands is to get the private sector out of our NHS once and for all.”

By Shaun Noble

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