Healthcare for the Few

Last week Oasis Healthcare, the UK’s largest private dental chain, was acquired by the private equity firm Bridgepoint Capital — the same private equity vulture that just three years ago purchased one of the UK’s largest private health care companies, Care UK plc (see “Caring For Profit”).

One stand-out member of Bridgepoint’s European advisory board is their chairman, the former Labour MP for Darlington, Alan Milburn — who served as the Secretary of State for Health from 1999 to 2003. Such profitable and highly inequitable work means that Milburn finds it hard to resist other employment as an advisor for Lloydspharmacy: an advisory position he has held since Lloydspharmacy first established their healthcare advisory panel in December 2006, with other original members including the current CEO of  Oasis Healthcare (Justin Ash, who was then Lloydspharmacy’s managing director), and Baroness Morgan (Tony Blair’s former political secretary).

Other than being known as a keen educational privateer, between 2006 and 2011 Baroness Morgan served as a board member of Southern Cross Healthcare – the infamous company which profited from the ruin of hundreds of British nursing homes. This nursing home tie then brings us to one William Colvin, who during 2008 served as the CEO of Southern Cross, and, at present, is none other than the chairman of Oasis Healthcare.

Colvin however is relatively new to the healthcare gravy-train, as oil has been his long-standing concern. A lucrative interest that he maintains to this day through his role as a board member of Gold Oil plc (which exploits oil and gas reserves in Latin America, in particular Peru and Colombia) and InfraStrata plc (which roots around for oil and gas here in the UK). For such capitalists, profiting from destroying the NHS comes as naturally as destroying the environment. Thus it is not surprising that another InfraStrata board member, Craig Stuart Gouws, actually came to this position directly from working for GE (General Electric) Healthcare.

Returning to Bridgepoint, the man currently responsible for leading their scandalous Healthcare team is Rob Moores, who in addition to residing on Care UK’s board room, acts as the chairman of Diaverum — one of the world´s largest independent renal care providers (think diabetes and dialysis). Here Moores rubs shoulders with fellow Diaverum board member, our good Labour heathcare profiteer Alan Milburn; while just a few years ago Diaverum entered into a lucrative joint venture with the Saudi-based Nazer Group – which is headed by Hisham Nazer, the ex-chairman of the largest oil company in the world, Saudi Aramco.

Moores’ is also a former board member of Richard Branson’s chain of fitness outlets, Virgin Active, in which a controlling stake is owned by private equity firm CVC Capital Partners. This latter connection is sickeningly ironic as CVC managing partner, Bertrand Meuier, is a board member of Atos, the company that literally perform health miracles on the disabled via their disgusting ‘assessments’ that are incorrectly reclassifying disabled people as fit for work. (For more on Branson’s pioneering efforts to destroy the NHS, see “Labour Used Virgin ‘Restricted’ Report to Open NHS to Healthcare Companies.”)

This brings us neatly back to Baroness Morgan, who was just one of the many capitalist luminaries brought together by Branson in late 2010 to serve as a member of his very own Virgin brains trust. Luckily for us, efforts to save the NHS are growing in strength by the day, with the ongoing protests in Lewisham providing a shining example for other parts of the country. Ken Loach’s excellent film The Spirit of ’45 showed exactly what is at stake… our futures no less. So now is time for the working class to demonstrate its immense collective power through a general strike, and start the process of rebuilding society to benefit the many and not the few.

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