Doctors’ magazine Pulse discovered that 23% of board members in the new NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups face possible conflicts of interest when commissioning NHS care. Registers for 900 new commissioners, replacing Primary Care Trusts from April 2013, show that one in five have interests in private healthcare providers that supply the NHS with diagnostics, minor surgery, locum GPs and out-of-hours services.
In response to the investigation the Department of Health’s commissioning tsar, Dr James Kingsland, suggested current guidelines were inadequate and board members with conflicting financial interests should consider stepping down from their Clinical Commissioning Group.
"David Cameron's re-organisation has left the NHS riddled with conflicts of interests and vulnerable to a huge loss of patient and public trust.
"He has handed over the NHS budget to people who stand to gain personally from the decisions they make without putting proper safeguards in place. In his bid to make the NHS a 'fantastic business', he has driven a coach and horses through public accountability.
"People will be alarmed to see just how many of the people brought in to run Mr Cameron's NHS have loyalties to private healthcare providers. David Cameron has recklessly mixed medicine with the money motive and that could damage the bond of trust between doctors and patients on which the NHS is founded.
“Labour today renews its call that no individual should have any involvement in decisions in which they have, or could be seen to have, a financial interest. The Government has previously rejected it but we consider it essential public trust in our country's most-valued institution is to be upheld. Ministers must think again on this and bring in tough new rules before April."