NHS contracts firm gave to Tories
Tuesday 3rd September 2013, 5:11PM BST.
An under-fire American health firm which runs key NHS services has donated £17,000 to the Tories.
The Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) is the world’s largest private hospital group and runs several units in London, including the Princess Grace, the Portland, the London Bridge Hospital, the Lister and the Wellington.
It already holds contracts to run NHS services and has expressed interest in looking for more.
Records from the Electoral Commission show HCA donated £8,500 to the Conservatives in August 2010 and a further £8,500 in September 2011.
A statement from HCA said: “We have historically donated money to the Conservative Party and this was done in accordance with transparent, independent guidelines.”
Last month’s Competition Commission report said HCA, Spire and BMI’s market dominance caused “consumer detriment” of £173 million to £193 million a year between 2009 and 2011.
The commission found HCA charges significantly higher prices to insurers than other operators, with BMI the next most expensive for insurers.
It also found private hospitals offer access to resources and perks such as cash to consultants to encourage them to use their facilities and refer patients. The watchdog said this could tempt doctors to run excessive tests or consultations.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said it needed to be known if ministers had any influence handing NHS contracts to a Tory donor.
He added: “Privatisation is now proceeding at a pace and scale never seen before and entering new territory.
“David Cameron needs to be reminded he’s never been given the permission of the British public to put the NHS up for sale.”