Thursday, 22 March 2012

BBC chief Lord Patten of Barnes, Bridgepoint and the Conflicts of Interest


Lord Patten, the current head of the BBC has direct links to a company heavily involved in private healthcare.

Lord Patten of Barnes is a member of the European Advisory Board for a private equity investment company called Bridgepoint.

The company who also have Alan Milburn the former Secretary of State for Health under Tony Blair, as chair of the board, have been involved in 17 healthcare deals over recent years listed below. Eight of these companies remain as their current investments, which include four in the UK at a combined investment worth over £1.1 billion.

One company acquired by Bridgepoint was residential care company CareUK in a £414 million acquisition in July 2010. CareUK made the headlines in the same year when it was revealed their chairman Jonathan Nash had donated £21,000 in November 2009 to run Health Secretary Andrew Lansley’s personal office.

Another deal saw Tunstall, a telehealth company with contracts in the NHS, acquired by Charterhouse Development Company for £555 million; who have another Lord Patten as their senior advisor. Four companies were involved in the transaction, including; Goldman Sachs, Clifford Chance, KPMG, and LEK, three of which have Lords in senior positions. Lord Griffiths is a director at Goldman Sachs; Lord Harris is a senior advisor at KPMG, and Lord Wakeham is an adviser to LEK.

Further transactions for Bridgepoint and a private healthcare company involved Alliance Medical, who sold the MRI scan company for £600 million to Dubai International LLC in 2007. The sale was a weighty profit, following it’s original purchase for £90 million purchase made while Alan Milburn was working at Bridgepoint.  

Further investments by Bridgepoint into the healthcare sector look likely according to their website, which states: ‘We believe that there will be excellent growth prospects and consolidation opportunities for those private sector players that can offer flexible, efficient and innovative business models in this evolving environment.’

Lord Patten was appointed to the Lords in 2005, and before being accepted as the head of the BBC was urged by Labour in March last year, to cut back on his business activities. This however didn’t happen, as he remains a stakeholder of energy giant EDF, a member of the advisory board of BP, advisor to telecom business Hutchison Europe, as well as his advisory role in Bridgepoint. Part of the concern of his appointment to the BBC was that as a member of the Conservative party his appointment would be a political placement at the top of the organisation.

Lord Patten of Barnes didn’t vote on the Health and Social Care bill, but that he was allowed to if he so wanted to, highlights the democratic hole in the Lords rules, which fails to prevent voting despite clear conflicts of interest.

 Deals Bridgepoint have made in the healthcare sector include:


Aenova
Contract drugs manufacturer - Switzerland
Alliance Medical
Diagonostic imaging service provider - UK
Attendo
Elderly care home operator - Sweden
Care UK
Private healthcare services - UK
Clinical Solutions
Clinical decision support software provider - UK
Corin
Orthopaedic products manufacturer - UK
Diaverum
Dialysis care services group - Sweden
Finagest
Nursing home operator - France
Firstpoint
Healthcare flexible staffing agency - UK
Healthcall
Out of hours primary care and healthcare service provider - UK
Medica
Nursing home group - France
Profile Therapeutics
Inhaled drug delivery systems manufacturer - UK
Pulse Staffing (formerly Match Group)
Flexible staffing provider - UK
Robinia
Care provider for people with profound learning difficulties - UK
Rodenstock
Ophthalmic lens manufacturer - Germany
Terveystalo
Private healthcare group - Finland
Tunstall
Personal and home reassurance telecare systems provider - UK

16 comments:

  1. It all makes such bitter, depressing sense.

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  2. At least give the guy some credit for not voting - though that fact did rather deflate the story just a tad.

    The real story lies with those lords with vested interests who DID vote, and voted in favour of the bill.

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  3. This revelation helps to explain the BBC's failure to cover the opposition to privatisation.

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  4. bbc are leaving the old building in London known as 'the Hub of Truth'
    think that says it all.

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  5. Lord Patten DID vote on the Health bill: http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?id=uk.org.publicwhip/member/100489&showall=yes#divisions

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    1. No, he didn't, he wasn't even there
      http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?mpn=Lord_Patten_of_Barnes&mpc=Lords&house=lords&display=everyvote#divisions

      Delete
  6. Hi Jonathan, as much as I wish that was the same Lord, it is a different one with the same name - there is Lord Patten and this one is Lord Patten of Barnes - http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/mp.php?id=uk.org.publicwhip/member/100833&showall=yes#divisions -

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  7. I struggle to believe that editorial teams across the BBC were pressured by Patten to not cover the NHS Bill. Surely someone somewhere would have squealed?

    Having said that, the lack of coverage is reall, really strange.

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  8. There are checks and balances to prevent such behaviour in the BBC. There may be some kind of of self-censorship going on or just that the editorial management of the BBC are simply not doing there job properly.

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  9. Sadly for the conspiracy theorists, Chris Patten is head of the BBC Trust, which is a completely separate body from the "the BBC" as most people understand it and is also totally unable to exert any kind of editorial control over the BBC's output.

    In terms of day-to-day management the people ultimately responsible for deciding what stories get run and what don't are firstly Helen Boaden, Director of News, and her boss, Mark Thompson, the Director General of the whole BBC.

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  10. Please at least search "NHS " on the BBC website before printing this. For March alone:

    Daily Politics Slot, March 23rd: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17487633
    Full scale breakdown of the Bill, March 21st: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17457102
    Report on the opposition to the Bill, March 20th: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17452756
    Health minister interviewed on opposition to Bill, March 20th: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17447905
    Report on Lansley being attacked, march 20th: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17445034
    Report on Labour attempts to overturn bill, march 20th: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17447992
    Report on Lords amendments to bill March 19th: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17435159
    Report on failure of Cumbria pilot of Health Bill March 18th: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-17398930
    Mention of Doctor's letter opposing NHS Bill in paper review March 17th: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17419698
    Report on Protestors against NHS bill in Oxford March 16th, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-17403869
    Report on Doctors opposition to NHS Bill march 16th, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17398446
    Parliamentary sketch on Libdem negotiations on HSC bill,March 14th,
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17370686
    Report on NHS bill debate & PMQs March 14th http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17364652
    Diane Abbott interviewed on the NHS bill, March 13th http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17354481
    Report on passing of HSC bill March 13th http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17351686
    Report on Royal College of GPS views on NHS bill March 12th http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17348616
    Report on Libdem conference refusal to sign up to NHS Bill March 11th http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17332204
    Report on FOI order on Risk Register, march 9th http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17312611
    Report on Government concessions on NHS Bill March 8th http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17302381
    March 7th, report on NHS workers protest against health Bill http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17289988
    March 6th Health minister and Labour opposit number interviewed on Sunday politics http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17211527
    March 5th Report on Information tribunal case on NHS Bill http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17239992
    March 1st Clegg at odds with party over NHS Bill http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17218403

    That, in addition to hours of primetime radio & television news. If you go back into Jan/Feb, articles crop up at about the same rate.

    Even if we assume Patten has been trying to silence the BBC, he hasn't been doing a very good job, has he?

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  11. Are you seriously implying that Patten sits in the BBC Newsroom all day, telling people what they can and cannot report?? Come on, this is childish journalism.

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    1. No I am not. If you have read the article it exposes his links to private healthcare and finishes off with that he is allowed to vote despite these interests. When readers who have been concerned at the coverage of the BBC protests saw it they made suggestions, which I countered in the comments.

      Therefore the focus of all the research has been exposing this flaw in our democracy, which is fair to say not childish.

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  12. http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourbeeb/oliver-huitson/how-bbc-betrayed-nhs-exclusive-report-on-two-years-of-censorship-and-distorti

    "How the BBC betrayed the NHS: an exclusive report on two years of censorship and distortion"
    Oliver Huitson 27 September 2012

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  13. AS USUAL SNOUTS IN THE TROUGH TOO MANY JOBS FOR ONE MAN,NOTHING NEW,THIS IS WHY THE COUNTRY HAS GONE DOWN,FAR TOO MANY MPs, AND LORDS WHO TROUSER £300 FOR TURNING UP WHY NOT SCRAP THE LOT AND AT THE SAME TIME STOP MPs FROM AMASSING DIRECTORSHIPS ETC.

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  14. If the NHS is currently too expensive to fund the way it is and we want it to continue - I'm sure we all do - it's one of many reasons why Great Britain is still Great - then instead of privatising the monster the politics and commentators should be coming up with alternative funding methods instead.

    I vaguely remember wondering what the NI rate was when I first started work, and around the same time a politician was asked what the NI rate was and couldn't answer the question - it needs to be more open. I hope it doesn't go the way of the American system but I fear in some aspects it already has with a two tier system staffed by surgeons and doctors who do both private and NHS work.

    Like the pensions system it has to be funded and accountable for all who need it.

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