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Labour Lord 'advises health privateers'

Former health minister Lord Warner in conflict of interest after advocating a fee for using NHS

The Labour Lord who penned a paper calling for patients to pay for the NHS is an adviser to health privateers, health union Unite revealed yesterday.

Labour ex-health minister Lord Warner wrote the report for right-wing think thank Reform suggesting a “membership scheme” should be introduced into the NHS at a fee of £10 month.

Unite said that if the proposals went through, there would be a clear “conflict of interest” given that Lord Warner has several connections within the private care industry.

Lord Warner, who was once senior policy adviser to former home secretary Jack Straw, is currently an adviser to technology firm Xansa and antimicrobial company Byotrol.

The NHS is a client of both Xansa and Byotrol.

“It would create a two-tier NHS in favour of the well-off,” said Unite head of health Rachael Maskell.

“It would be very discriminatory against the poor who would struggle to pay such a charge.”

The fee would be collected together with other similar universal taxations, such as the Council Tax.

Ms Maskell warned that if such a proposal was ever adopted, it would be the death knell for the NHS.

She said: “It would be the end of a health service free at the point of delivery for all those in need.”

Reform partners include Sedexo, Serco, Capita and BMI Healthcare, all of which would profit from the privatisation of the NHS and of the report’s proposals.

In an article for the Guardian on Monday Lord Warner suggested further reforms including the integration of the health system with the elderly care infrastructures.

A tax rise on products such as alcohol and gambling — which ironically contradict the Chancellor’s infamous beer and bingo tax reduction — were among other proposals to create a larger revenue ready to invest in the health system.

The Labour member of the House of Lords also put forward the proposal for a bigger inheritance tax because people “must expect the elderly, after their deaths, to contribute more.”

Shadow health minister Jamie Reed denied Labour’s interest in similar reforms.

“We believe in an NHS free at the point of use,” he said.


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