Health Secretary in the pocket of private healthcare

Tuesday 4th December 2018 | Jake

The health secretary of the UK, Matt Hancock, has praised a private healthcare company’s app, in a sponsored content supplement paid for by said company, Babylon Health. Labour has complained over Hancock breaking ministerial code, which dictates that minister should not act as “patrons of, or offer support to” pressure groups that use government funding.

Hancock endorsed the 'GP at Hand' app in glowing terms, in an interview found in good pal George Osborne’s Evening Standard paper. Hancock met with Babylon CEO Ali Parsa almost as soon as he was promoted to health secretary, and has visited the company’s Chelsea offices to deliver a speech. It is unknown whether this speech paid handsomely.

Parsa and Babylon’s incessant lobbying will undoubtedly pay off. Britain’s health secretary, responsible for coordinating government strategy for healthcare, is mysteriously enraptured with the company’s app. The brazen conflict of interest appears of little interest to Hancock, who denies wrongdoing. One thing that cannot be denied, however, is the precarious position the NHS finds itself, with successive health secretaries (Hunt) apparently hell-bent on stripping the service, consequently (and in Hancock’s instance, proactively) bolstering the private sector’s plundering of our healthcare system.