Banker is new chairman of NHS England

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Protesters NHS services be kept public

BANKER Richard Meddings has been appointed as the new chairman of NHS England.

Meddings, who is also a non-executive director at Credit Suisse will replace the current chair Lord David Prior in March and will be paid £63,000 per year for working two to three days a week.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid claimed the decision to appoint Meddings followed a ‘fair and open competition’ and a ‘scrutiny hearing’, during which Meddings stressed that he has private health insurance and that he used private care in 2021 after being diagnosed with a DVT – a blood clot in a vein.

As chairman of TSB, Meddings oversaw its accrual of losses of £104.5 million in 2018 and around 80,000 customers switching their bank account away from TSB in a year.

BMA member Anna Athow commented: ‘It is outrageous that a former banker is the new chairman of NHS England, (NHSE), the board that decides how most of NHS money in England is allocated.

‘Saturday’s Daily Telegraph reveals that he worked at the Deutsche Bank, the same bank as Sajid Javid the current health secretary, between 2015 and 2019.

‘Last week, the Telegraph  revealed that Meddings himself has private health health insurance, so clearly does not have to rely on the NHS for his own healthcare.

‘Ever since the NHSE board was set up by the Tory Lib-Dem coalition government in 2012, the board has been packed with people who have business interests.

‘We should not be surprised, as the Chief Executive of the NHS Board, from 2014 to this year, was Sir Simon Stevens, the former Global Director of UnitedHealth the largest American health insurance company.

‘It is his brainchild – the NHS Long Term Plan – which is now being put into practise by the Johnson government, via the pushing through of the Health and Social Care Act, which hands over a leading role in the new Integrated Care Boards to these health insurance and management consultancy companies.

‘The entire strategy is focused on handing more and more NHS contracts to private providers.

‘The new “superhospitals”  are to be public-private partnerships. The new diagnostic centres in shopping malls, and surgical hubs are being opened up to the private sector to supposedly deal with the huge backlogs, rejuvenate “the recovery programme” and save Boris Johnson’s bacon.

‘The entire trade union and labour movement needs to organise united strike action to dismantle this huge privatising machine, bring down the Tories and restore the NHS to public provision under a workers government.’

All Trades Unions Alliance National Secretary Dave Wiltshire said: ‘This appointment is a real provocation, a declaration of war on the health service and the working people in the UK.

‘The NHS is a real gain of the working class and it must be defended.

‘This means that the TUC must meet and give an ultimatum to the government that it must either withdraw this appointment or it will face a general strike that will certainly bring it down.’