GP criticises NHS Alliance for link with private firms

A founder member of the NHS Alliance and recipient of its lifetime achievement award has questioned the independence of the organisation as it prepares to give evidence on the NHS reform plans.

Dr Ron Singer (right): concerns over independence of NHS Alliance led by Michael Dixon (left)
Dr Ron Singer (right): concerns over independence of NHS Alliance led by Michael Dixon (left)

GP Dr Ron Singer raised concerns that the NHS Alliance will be giving evidence to the Health Bill scrutiny committee on Tuesday, calling the organisation a ‘mouth piece’ for the government and criticising its links to private firms.

He said the NHS Alliance partners with a number of firms, including Merck Sharp and Dohme, Indigo Health, Hunter Healthcare and Abbott UK.

Dr Singer also criticised the NHS Alliance’s leadership and executive team for ignoring its members, calling the team ‘disunited and ill-informed’.

‘Its leadership is out of step with most leading medical organisations and significant sections of its own executive in its uncritical support for GP led commissioning at any cost to the rest of the NHS,' he said.

Dr Singer said he was ‘speaking plainly’ because the NHS is in a ‘perilous position’ with the Health and Social Care Bill being partially recommitted to the scrutiny committee.

He said: ‘The present NHS Alliance is a mouth piece for the government, an uncritical supporter of previous and present governments' policies and has influence far beyond its worth.

‘That's what makes it so valuable to government, so dangerous to the future of the NHS and why I have spoken out.’

But NHS Alliance chairman Dr Michael Dixon said the organisation is ‘completely independent’.

He said: ‘Making this a party political thing is not really fair. The Alliance is not anyone’s stooge.

‘It’s ironic that we are being called a 'mouth piece' for the government as we have previously been accused of being 'lefties'.

Dr Dixon also said the NHS Alliance is ‘no different from any other organisation’ in terms of having private sponsorship. He said the organisation has been 'open and transparent' about this.

He said: ‘We do have private funders but they never put any pressure on us to say what they believe or say something on their behalf. That would be inconceivable. We are not in the hands of private companies. It could never be said that we were.’

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