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Independents' Day

Hancock received £28k from chair of group advocating NHS insurance system

The newly appointed health and social care secretary has long standing ties with the chair of an economic think-tank that called for the introduction of a health insurance system, it has been revealed.

Matt Hancock, who was appointed to the role of health and social care secretary last night, has received £28,000 over eight years from Neil Record, who chairs the Institute for Economic Affairs.

However, the IEA say that the payments pre-date Mr Record taking over as chair and the donations have been made in a personal capacity.

They add that there is no 'lobbying-type relationship' between Mr Record and the new health secretary.

The donations, recorded by Mr Hancock in the register of members’ interests, state that the money was given ‘in support of my parliamentary work and travel costs in my capacity as an MP’.

Last week, on the 70th birthday of the NHS, the institute described the health service as an ‘international laggard’, adding that ‘it is time to look to the social health insurance systems in Europe’.

Mr Record has donated between £2,000 and £4,000 almost every year since December 2010, when Mr Hancock was elected as an MP for West Suffolk in the general election that year.

The institute has long been critical of the NHS, with a 2016 report supporting the introduction co-payments in a social health insurance (SHI) system comparable to those in Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Israel.

The report said: ‘Like the NHS, SHI systems also achieve universal access to healthcare, albeit in a different way, namely through a combination of means-tested insurance premium subsidies, community rating and risk structure compensation.’

It added that SHI system ‘are second to none’, saying ‘there is nothing the NHS has achieved which the SHI systems have not also achieved’.

Laying out its plan to reform the NHS, the report said: ‘CCGs are, in a sense, comparable to insurers, so giving people free choice of CCG would be a necessary (albeit not sufficient) first step towards creating a quasi-SHI system.

‘CCGs’ budgets would then have to correspond closely to the risk profile of the patient population they cover, and this market should also be opened to private non-profit and for-profit insurers.

‘CCGs and non-NHS insurers should be free to offer a variety of health plans, including plans with co-payments and deductibles in exchange for rebates.’

Last week, as the NHS celebrated its 70th anniversary, IEA news editor Kate Andrews, maintained this position. She said: ‘No level of adoration or praise around its 70th anniversary can gloss over the fact that the system’s poor performance is costing thousands of lives each year.

She added: ‘Britain cannot settle for the status quo – the NHS is an international laggard in regards to health outcomes, ranking in the bottom third of comparisons for health system performance. 

‘As demographics continue to shift and pressures on the NHS become more burdensome, it is time to look to the Social Health Insurance systems in Europe, under which thousands more people survive serious conditions every year, including strokes and common types of cancer.’

This comes after leading doctors rejected calls for the BMA to consider charging patients for GP appointments in order to fund the NHS at last month's Annual Representitives Meeting.

A spokesperson for the IEA said: 'Neil Record’s support for Matt Hancock not only pre-dates his elevation to the chairmanship of the IEA, but it also pre-dates Matt Hancock’s promotion to any Government post.

'For the avoidance of doubt, he has never had any commercial or any other lobbying-type relationship with Matt in any of his Ministerial posts, nor has he ever discussed his responsibilities in any context that relates to him personally, or his chairmanship of the IEA.

'His donation is personal. It is already in the public domain that he is a personal supporter of, and donor to, the Conservative Party. This in no way alters the IEA’s position of independence from alignment with any political party.'

The Department of Health and Social Care told Pulse that Mr Hancock is absolutely committed to an NHS free at the point of use with no plans to reform the health service.

Neil Record’s donations to Matt Hancock


30 November 2017


14 June 2017


23 November 2016


1 December 2015


27 November 2014


11 December 2012


25 November 2011


6 December 2010




Source: Register of Members’ Interests

Readers' comments (13)

  • The IEA has written some quite convincing reports based on real outcome data (OECD) such as avoidable death rates and cancer survival, where the NHS lags behind similar European countries. This contrasts to the soft outcomes in the Commonwealth report, which measures how much a health service is like the NHS, so that the NHS scores highly!

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  • @Big and Small

    It does not really matter if Neil Record/ The IEA is correct or incorrect. It is more if the new Health Secretary is receiving donations to influence future policy decisions.

    The most important question is where does Neil Record live? If the donations were to support his work as an MP, but Mr Record is not one of Mr Hancock's constituents, then there might be something fishy going on. If however he resides in Mr Hancock's constituency, then it might all be considered above board.

    I actually don't know where he lives. He is chairman of Record Plc, which is based in Windsor, not near the West Suffolk constituency of Matt Hancock. He has lectured at Cambridge, which is not too far from the West Suffolk constituency.

    I think people have to make up their own mind. But it is not a good start.

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  • I think it would be welcome to have a health secretary who openly called to move away from an anachronistic system!

    Unfortunately whether under undue influence or not, I have no belief that UK politicians have the courage to advocate a move away from the NHS religion.

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  • But what was the money for and why was it given??

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  • We need a better model than the current NHS system. Listen to what Kate Andrews from the IEA says.

    We’re spending more money than ever, nursing and doctor morale is increadibly low.

    GPs are working under immense pressure and when mistakes happen, which they inevitably will do, they’re to blame.

    A different model is definitely needed.

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  • Knowledge is Porridge

    Do we really trust cancer survival rates in countries as like for like? Seems very vulnerable to lead time bias: diagnose the same condition 6 months earlier and survival is 6 months better. Meanwhile life expectancy of a population mirrors prevailing diet, smoking and social inequalities better than access to healthcare. If NHS is good enough care at OK price, then I want to keep it ongoing...just remove the litigation lottery please.

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  • Vinci Ho

    (1) First of all , there is a Chinese saying , ‘swallow the reward from your master , concern the issues worried by the mater .’ (食君之祿,擔君之夏). Whoever Mr Record or Miss Andrews is negligible . They will try to be as ‘hawkish’ as possible to defend the ones they work . Same applies to Babylon or GP at Hand spokesmen, especially under a chaotic political climate like now. Morality is not necessary as far as their job descriptions are concerned, let’s be honest . No law has been broken here , happy days .
    (2) Private medical insurance is always allowed to exist , in contrast to Canada , for instance, where private practice is largely forbidden. The technicality only lies on the proportion of the split of proportion with respect to public money funded practices: 90/10% , 80/20%, 60/40% , 50/50% and so on . What comes around , what goes around. One way or the other , the money to pay for a health service comes from people , no two ways about this . Yes , the proper debate should lie on how to recruit resources (money in this case) . The debate should be honest and transparent. If the money is not collected directly from people (e.g. taxation) , a third party is involved and administration cost is always an issue if means testing is involved . Any argument deviating substantially from this is populism .
    (3) As an elected MP and now Secretary of State in a system of ‘liberal democracy’ , the politician of concern has a duty of maintain a balance among three types of politics :responsible politics , ethical politics and realistic politics . The financial payments from any potentially influential organisation need to be treated extremely carefully and transparently , avoidable if possible ,in my opinion . Once again , it is political sensitivity as well as wisdom .
    Presumed innocent until proven guilty , BUT a Secretary of State must know what he/she is representing and media like us will ALWAYS oversee the behaviour of a government and its health secretary.

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  • Vinci Ho

    .....concern the issues worried by the master.

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  • Vinci Ho

    After all whether the ‘outcomes’ of a health system are good or bad depends on more than one factor ( of course , the way to measure and interpret these outcomes can be arbitrary or even intentional) . That is common sense.
    Attributing ‘outcomes’ to ONE THING is a political strategy to win for your argument.(I sometimes use that as well especially against my wife and mother-in-law , ha ha ha).

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  • The reality is you get what you paid for. This free system is not free and you are currently being penalised for being healthy and working paying for others. GPs are currently paying in addition to their tax thousands of pounds for National insurance and they are not getting the service. Time to change from this syetem that is not fit for purpose.

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