New Prime Minister’s health and social care advisers’ backgrounds are in a Thatcherite pressure group, NHS England, the MailOnline and Accenture

Update: Well that didn’t last long! This post was about the the new health and social care teams in the Cabinet Office and Department of Health and Social Care during the brief Premiership of Liz Truss, that lasted all of 44 disastrous, toe-curling days.

Following her resignation, her unelected replacement, Rishi Sunak, appointed private healthcare lobbyist Bill Morgan as the No 10 health policy adviser. He is believed to be helping drive through ‘NHS efficiencies’.

Bill Morgan founded the healthcare lobbying company Incisive Health in 2013. The continuity between current Tory and Labour NHS policies is indicated by the government’s AND the opposition’s common employment of Incisive Health lobbyists.

Incisive Health Associate Director from 2014-2019, Ben Nunn, was Labour Shadow Health Secretary Heidi Alexander’s Special Adviser, before becoming Keir Starmer’s aide in his Labour Party Leadership campaign. He was subsequently Starmer’s Communications chief, before quitting after Labour lost its deposit in the 2021 Chesham and Amersham by-election.

Original report starts here:

Judging from their backgrounds, the new health and social care teams in LIz Truss’s Cabinet Office and Department of Health and Social Care seem likely to pursue the goal of shrinking the NHS into a bare bones acute and emergency service for those who cannot afford private care, while increasingly directing the NHS funding stream to private companies – particularly the digital technology companies that are key to setting up the system of surveillance medicine that is require to feed the growth of the life sciences industry, to the profit of Big Pharma and genetic engineering companies.

Who’s in?

The Health Service Journal reports that Ninjeri Pandit is director of policy for health and public services, and health delivery, based in the Cabinet Office. She was previously director of the office of the NHS England chief executive, under Simon (now Lord) Stevens.

Caroline Elsom, who advised Therese Coffey during her three years at the Department of Work and Pensions, will cover the health brief in Number 10 as special political adviser for public services. Before working with the secretary of state, Ms Elsom spent two years at the Thatcherite Centre for Policy Studies – one of the key think tanks and pressure groups set up to:

“develop the ideas and the language which would mask the real intent of the [neoliberal] programme – the restoration of the power of the elite – and package it as a proposal for the betterment of humankind.”

How the neoliberals stitched up the wealth of nations for themselves – George Monbiot

DeSmog has some background info on the Centre for Policy Studies

Department of Health and Social Care – Special Advisers and Ministers

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Teresa Coffey – also serving as deputy Prime Minister – has three Special Advisers who are moving with her from the Department of Work and Pensions.

They are Tim Sculthorpe, a former MailOnline reporter, Ed Winfield, previously a manager in consultancy company Accenture UK’s Health and Public Service practice, and Jessica Prestidge, formerly a researcher for the Conservative party and author of a Durham University PhD Thesis, Margaret Thatcher’s politics: the cultural and ideological forces of domestic femininity

Robert Jenrick, who formerly served as housing and local government secretary, now re-joins government as a health minister. Colchester MP and former schools minister Will Quince has also been confirmed as a minister in the department, and is expected to lead on social care.

Lord Kamall, the Health Minister who was responsible for getting the notorious Health and Care Bill through the House of Lords, has been replaced by one Nick Markham, co-founder of a covid-19 testing firm set up in June 2020, who has been given a life peerage and appointed a junior health minister.

Following the death of the Queen,

“His Majesty has… been pleased to signify His intention of conferring a peerage of the United Kingdom for Life on Nick Markham CBE.”

Markham is the chair of London and Continental Railways, a property company owned by the government, but was previously a TV executive and part of the team that merged Granada and Carlton TV and launched Freeview.

Department of Health and Social Care SpAd previously worked for Accenture – a global consultancy company with DWP, Test and Trace, NHS Digital and Health Systems Support contracts

Accenture has many contracts with the UK government. For example, in February 2021, it was one of 12 companies awarded a spot on the £800m Digital Capability for Health framework. The contract is for the provision of digital outcomes and supporting services for NHS Digital and other public sector health and social care bodies. The framework contract was awarded by the UK’s Crown Commercial Services, as part of the UK government’s new proposals to join up health and care services and embed lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim of ‘integrating’ NHS and social care through

” the power of digital and data to join up care and [use] that power to drive transformation.”

The new proposals flagged the NHS COVID-19 Data Store as a major achievement, claiming it,

“safely brought together accurate, real-time information necessary to inform decisions in response to the current pandemic in England.”

Business technology reporter Lindsay Clark, writing in The Register, pointed out that,

“Given that the government only published the contracts for the data store – which are let to Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and controversial AI firms Faculty and Palantir (which subcontracts to AWS) – under legal duress, concerns may be raised about the government’s openness in contracting vital NHS IT services to the private sector.”

Accenture was the third-highest ranked consultancy on the Test and Trace spending list, after Deloitte and IBM. In September 2021, the (not the)NHS Test and Trace programme awarded Accenture a £4.8m contract extension to keep its much-criticised COVID-19 Test and Trace system up and running for another year. The contract was to see the outsourcing consultancy and professional services outfit maintain the data platform until 1 August 2022.

Accenture, which has a very dodgy legacy thanks to its involvement in the 2002 Enron mess about defrauding its shareholders, has also been the DWP’s contractor in delivering the IT for Universal Credit – with Atos as principal partner.

It is also an approved supplier on the Health Systems Support Framework, set up so that NHS commissioners can buy in private companies to do the work of setting up the new Integrated Care Systems. Among other tasks, this Framework lists companies authorised to sell NHS commissioners the skills and software required to analyse patients’ confidential GP records and identify those deemed to be at risk of costing the NHS a lot of money.

Samantha Jones, former Chief Exec of Centene Corporations UK subsidiaries, is out

Samantha Jones, former Chief Executive of Centene’s UK subsidiaries, is leaving government after Liz Truss abolished her role of interim permanent secretary and chief operating officer of the new Office of the Prime Minister – a job created by Boris Johnson as he attempted to recover from the partygate scandal.

As Permanent Secretary in No 10 from February 2022, Ms Jones joined Boris Johnson’s new Chief of Staff, Steve Barclay MP, as well as eDirector of Communications, Guto Harri, and Head of the Policy Unit, Andrew Griffith,

After Liz Truss abolised the 10 Downing Street role during her 44 day Premiership, Samantha Jones worked out her notice advising the new health secretary Steve Barclay until the end of 2022.

Ms Jones was also Boris Johnson’s health adviser from March 2021.

Before directing Centene’s UK subsidiaries, Samantha Jones was NHS England adviser on the insurance-based ‘New Care Models’ which are central to the new Integrated Care Systems. In this job, she  played a central role in giving the USA Centene Corporation access to NHS contracts.

Samantha Jones is now in again

On 24th February 2023 the wind came out and blew Samantha Jones into the Department of Health and Social Care as a non-executive director.

Presumably Steve Barclay liked the advice she gave him while working out her notice from the Prime Minister’s Office. (We can hazard a guess as to its general direction.)

He didn’t seem to like the questions Steven Carne asked him last November on behalf of NHS campaigners around the country, though, at the Theads of Survival quilts exhibition in his constituency.

“Too political,” Steve Barclay said.

As Deapartment of Health and Social Care Non-Executive Director, Samantha Jones replaces former Leeds Teaching Hospitals chief executive Sir Julian Hartey, who stood down as a DHSC NED when he became Chief Exec of NHS Providers.

DHSC non-executive directors do not have a direct role in running government departments but are expected to provide “external advice and expertise”. They receive £15,000 a year for three days’ work a month, according to a DHSC job advert posted late last year that said it was seeking to appoint four new non-execs.


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