One of David Cameron’s most senior health advisers told a conference of health executives that the NHS will be privatised, advising representatives from healthcare companies of an impending goldrush in the wake of Andrew Lansley’s health reforms.

Mark Britnell was NHS director general for commissioning and system management before joining the private sector as global head of health at KPMG. He was recently appointed to a new panel of senior health policy experts by David Cameron, attending their first meeting last week.

According to the public relations industry monitoring site Spinwatch Britnell did not mince his words on privatisation when addressing a seminar called “Reform Revolution” at a conference for healthcare corporations:

“In future, the NHS will be a state insurance provider not a state deliverer.”

Delegates had been told the conference, run by $20 billion private equity firm Apax Partners, would cover “business opportunities post global healthcare reform.” Britnell delivered the good, offering this deliciously off-message sound bite:

“The NHS will be shown no mercy and the best time to take advantage of this will be in the next couple of years.”

Despite their focus on health reform, Cameron’s new panel of advisers will not contribute to the announced process in which stakeholders can suggest “improvements” to Andrew Lansley’s proposals.

As though we needed any more evidence that this “listening exercise” is a sham.


  1. Whilst I am working my poorly paid backside off in intensive care tonight I will be contemplating why I ever voted the Tories in…. Under the misguided notion that they would save the nhs not destroy it, as a nurse I believe in the nhs 110% big big mistake I am disgusted

  2. I’m staggered by this pure, unadulterated beguiling and insidious hateful attitude towards all that is good about our country.

  3. Looks like if we want an NHS we will literally have to fight for it. And it would be a massive mistake to underestimate the contempt in which Tories and their associates hold the public sector and those who believe in it. This will be nothing less than a civil war.

  4. James McDoogle says:

    Fortunately the majority would rather die than let people like this have their way! VIVA LE RESISTANCE.

    No wonder Scotland wants independence.

  5. Act now – join the the demo “Kill Lansley’s Bill- Our NHS Not For Sale! Next Tuesday 17 May. Assemble 5.30 pm University College Hospital Gower St WC1 6pm march to Department of Health, Whitehall. march to save the NHS

  6. Andrew Lansley will be at Long Road 6th Form college Cambridge tommorow there will be a demonstration outside protesting about the NHS privitisation from 11.30 onwards…. please come along to show your disgust at this vile waste of skin.

  7. O to be a fly on the wall in A&E if this toerag had an accident. Please take your time with the resus gear folks.

  8. They’re waging class war of an unprecedented scale. There will be riots if this goes ahead, and I hope people break through the gates of westminister, and drag the scum out of the chamber.

  9. Let us hope the electorate repays them with the same compliment when the time comes, without mercy. Leeds hospitals have already privatised their parking facilities and the first thing to happen was that disabled parking spaces at the cancer clinic were scrapped – there is no money in wheelchairs.
    They have absolutely no mandate form any electorate anywhere to deform he NHS in this way. Every professional medical organisation in the UK is against it. They are fraudsters, spivs and gamblers with the UK taxpayers money and they will reap what they sow tenfold when the time comes.

  10. I do believe there will be riots if this goes ahead, and I think they could well be the biggest we’ve seen in quite some time. The sort Tories seem to love stirring up.

    They should back down right now, or they will only have themselves to blame when it all goes badly wrong.

  11. If Labour don’t reverse this when they get in power in 2014/15 then im off to live in Cuba

  12. The coalition are dismantling whats left of the welfare system, the next thing on the agenda is the dismantling of the NHS completely, I suppose companies like Unum, formerly UnumProvident in the USA will be asked to come in and advise?

    Unum are nothing more than “Disability denial factories” as a court called them in the USA, the disabled and the sick have a lovely future to look forward to, the Labour party have a huge responsibility in all of this as thery introduced us all to the wonderful caring and sharing company, Atos Health Care….

  13. Radical Rad says:

    How can they be so arrogant? They had no mandate, they have no overally majority? How? Why? What can we do to stop this juggernaut of right wing ideology that the Lib-Dems seem happy to allow to roll unimpeded?

  14. Diana Stirling says:

    We have to fight this! Anyone who has seen what happens if you can’t afford healthcare in America; anyone who knew this country before the NHS can really understand that we must not let the Tories destroy something as precious as our NHS.
    For pitys sake Cameron, you know better than most what the NHS means to parents when their child needs care… have to remember that… have to preserve it for those who need it, as you needed it and used it in the past.

  15. My father was killed as a direct result of privatisation creeping into the NHS. This cannot happen, and I can’t imagine that the UK public will let it.

    Though it could be that they’re saying this now so that they can bring in something not quite so bad but still pretty awful and we’ll see it as a “victory”.

  16. George Woodhouse says:

    Makes no difference whether private operators or not – so long as the service is free. But we would need to live in Scotland for that. After all, most of our contact with the NHS is with private businesses – including GPs, Dentists, Opticians, hearing specialists, PFI run hospitals many nurses provided by privately run agencies. What is essential is that whatever the supply basis it is properly managed by quality people – not just by throwing money and people at it indiscriminately as Gordon Brown did. Lets hope that Lansley understands this and gets that bit right.

  17. Ultimo Tiger says:

    So if I got what he said right, then the NHS is going to be like the European systems instead where the state provides the insurance but the private sector delivers the service.

    And if I remember correctly, aren’t those systems all ranked ahead of the NHS? I mean I do appreciate the NHS but if it’s the best thing in the world, why does no one else copy it?

    As for some of the riot comments, I think it’s quite funny. It’s wrong for the EDL to protest about Islamic extremism but it’s ok for all of you riot and kill Tory MPs because you adore the NHS. Hypocrisy rules.

  18. Truly awful but lets do something about it. I have put it on facebook (please do that) and sent emails to all my friends and have sent to Sunday Mirror. I will send to every newspaper I can and to local radio and radio four. The right wing are resurrecting more of the Iraq enquiry, always a good move to throw a smoke screen around their dirty work-don’t let them do it. Send the article everywhere to Unison etc let’s not let the rat disappear down a sewer after spreading his poison.

  19. david crankshaw says:

    cameron if you hurt anyone of my family i swear i will come and do thge same to you

  20. stephen green says:

    its our own fault this has happened, look at the percentage of people that voted in the past election! averages 35 to 45% voted! LET ALONE PAST ELECTIONS its long overdue that people stood up for this country and vote no confidence in this goverment. dont they realise they are working for us. try putting a normal hard working person in this position, they would probably do a better job! stand up britain and make us great again like our name! at least we will save on our nic contributions and tax….lol DONT THINK THAT WILL HAPPEN! IS THEIR ANYONE IN PARLIAMENT WITH COMMON SENSE

  21. Reading the article briefly, it does still appear that the NHS would be free at point of use.

    So to the customer it would not be run any differently?

    You’d probably have less tossers on MBA auditing constantly, you’d probably have fewer nurses on £35kpa counting waiting times on clipboards. The unions would probably lose a bit of funding, and also you’d have fair less lawyers and politicians arguing over pointless details and scaremongering newspaper articles.

  22. @Noise

    “Reading the article briefly, it does still appear that the NHS would be free at point of use.

    So to the customer it would not be run any differently?”

    Just because it would be free at point of use that doesn’t mean it will be a decent service. There has been several cases of people dying or being seriously injured because they were treated in privately run health clinics that were set up to make a profit and therefore were cutting corners rather than in a proper hospital. As I said earlier was one of the victims of this system.

  23. @Kristofski

    There are many examples of the NHS doing exactly the same.

    The NHS already used private companies to meet targets under Labours watch.

    From a neutral point of view, I suppose I’d prefer to see the NHS retain full emergency care. But the overhead costs are far too high for some specialist minor surgeries. Would prefer to see the US style insurers stay the fuck out of the way, as a vaguely centre-right thinker I admit I do shudder when I hear the words ‘private equity managers’ and usually think “cocks on sticks”. I once went in to see my GP about a minor problem, I spent 6 months waiting to see a specialist, I waited 12 months to wait if funding would come through only to be denied. After all that crap I rung up a local private clinic and they saw me the next day for £200. They probably spent far more than the surgery was worth deciding whether they should pay for it.

  24. Anonymous X says:

    Frankly, from what I know of the German health system, which uses compulsory basic insurance, in comparison the NHS is an infinitely better safety-net for the average working family. The German model leaves you at the mercy of your Krankenkasse insurer, who in return for your healthcare premium (15% wage deductions) persistently dodge paying for a vast range of treatments, charge ever-increaing premiums and “co-payments”, dump patients amongst long waiting times and overbearing bureaucracy. All the positive stories you will ever hear of the German health system will be from people who self-insure privately, outside the public system. Only the wealthiest Germans, without pre-existing conditions, can ever contemplate using private health insurance. If the Tories whittle down the NHS to a basic insurance scheme, then we will inevitably have two-tier healthcare. Pray that you are not on the lower tier.

  25. Not only am I disgusted the Tories were ever voted in in the first place, I’m equally sickened at how little Nick Clegg seems to be doing to stop them destroying our welfare systems and NHS, the only two things that make me proud to be British.
    It’s clear changes have to be made and we need to save money, but what’s the rush? We’ve had a deficit since WW2, nearly every country in the world has one, and we have far more chance of sorting it out with more INVESTMENT not further cuts.
    The way our welfare systems and NHS are going we might as well just call ourselves Americans now and stand up and say the pledge of allegiance.

  26. cancer sufferer says:

    i hate and despise any tinkering with health,its not for sale or to lansleys former masters,if you need care the nhs is a good provider,you dont want a system like usa where there have been circumstances where your credit is checked before treatment is validated

  27. Thanks to this site at least we can arm ourselves with knowledge, they can’t brainwash us, and we must not for get what liars the condems are. May they all rot in hell !

  28. How many people whinging here voted the Tories in? Quite a few I bet. How on earth did you believe it would be otherwise? The Tories always wanted to destroy the NHS, and now they have the chance. Treatment by ability to pay, here we come, and it’s your own damn fault.

  29. Despite their weasel words, all parties want the NHS off their backs.
    The groundwork for this was done on the quiet by ‘New Labour’ ( what a sick joke )
    Everything has been set up like a stack of dominos. All dave has to do is push……………

  30. I am amazed that the anyone who works in the NHS/Public Sector could have even thought about voting for the Tories. Did you not see this coming? I’m no ‘Mystic Meg’ (for those over 40). But the writing was on wall and always has been. The Tories will try to privatise all that is great and good in this country, I just hope that in 3 years time we all wake up and smell the coffee, that we get this lot out and don’t sit on the fence and waste your vote by giving it to the Libs, vote Labour. You can please some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time. Labour may have its faults but it will not destroy the whole of the nation’s social system, which is what the Tories are doing.
    When election time comes around again, don’t listen to the Tory Press (because they will be out in force to undermine Labour), don’t be fooled, you are more intelligent than that, just remember what is happening now and don’t let it happen again!

  31. Considering that it has now come to light that Mr. Britnell is not, in fact, an advisor to David Cameron but was an advisor and prominent figure in the NHS under Labour, will the Political Scrapbook publish a retraction of this story? Surely the left needs to be seen to rise above the spread of false information which this story clearly qualifies as.

  32. scillysnowprincess says:

    Living in Switzerland under the private Krankenversicherung (insurance) I think it is dangerous territory to privatise. Whilst the clinical care is good and pre-existing conditions ARE covered, each year the premiums are hiked up. You can counteract this by having a higher excess (like with a car) but have to pay this excess before the insurer will pay out. The insurer has complete control over which drugs they will pay for and if you fall behind with your premiums (which I had the unfortunate experience of last year) they will not pay your doctors bills until you have caught up with them (and no, until they are paid in full, even if you have made a payment plan this makes no difference). Oh, and if you are behind with your premiums you cannot change insurer. I have been trying to deal with this situation for two years now and only just now is it getting resolved. Those on the poverty line have no chance. And you have no choice – if you are in the country for more than three months you are obliged to have insurance. My recommendation – the NHS may have it’s faults but everyone has access to it without the financial worry. christ, I even had to pay for the ambulance to get me to hospital in an emergency!
    I spend about 6000chf a year on treatment which the insurers have to fork out for, but when they say they won’t pay, that’s an awful lot of debt to be worrying about. Which just adds to the stress of my condition.

  33. PS should publish a correction to this factually incorrect piece based on Wednesdays PMQs exchange with Ian Lavery MP.

    The ‘Cameron Advisor’ was actually a New Labour advisor.

    Please consider correcting this piece as appropriate.

  34. The torys will never learn look what closeing industry down did to this country. And most of all it’s not there’s to self off like the electric and gas wasn’t they are bag a bonds and it beggers beleave they ever got in again will did they no they muscled the libs out of the way. And what are we the people going to do about the torys ripening us of yet again were is our voice. Camron is nothing but a bully and a thriving trump up am allright jack with his millions he as stole of the backs of the working class people !!!!!

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  36. you need to get someone who isn t greedy and power hungry to run the country . as ann wideconbe said when quizzed over the freebies the mp s get . “why would we do it otherwise ” . speaks volumes. greed greed greed . public servants should serve the electorate not the party and then themselves. the gap between the rich and poor is forever widening, get up and do something about it . form a party.

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