The private healthcare executives, which also included CEOs from Horder Healthcare, Newmedica, InHealth and Medefer, outnumbered the five NHS England directors invited to the event.
DHSC said it could not provide openDemocracy with minutes from the meeting because none were taken, and refused to share any papers handed out to attendees.
Separately, the government quietly published a list of members of the Elective Recovery Taskforce on Monday. The 16-person group includes DHSC ministers, six NHS bosses, and Hare.
Other members include Bill Morgan, a private healthcare lobbyist whose past clients included Virgin Care, who was appointed a Number 10 adviser in November, and Paul Manning, an NHS consultant surgeon who is also chief medical officer for Circle Healthcare.
The government said the role of the task force would be to “shape proposals for how the healthcare system can make use of all resources at its disposal, further tackling the backlog caused by the Covid-19 pandemic”. It will conclude its work in March.
Last week, the prime minister said he had signed up to an NHS GP after the Guardian reported that he had registered with a private clinic in west London that charges £250 for a consultation.
The British Medical Association warned last year that the government’s NHS recovery plan would significantly increase the outsourcing of services to private providers and that it “threatens the clinical and financial viability and sustainability of the NHS”.
Tony O’Sullivan, a retired consultant paediatrician and co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public, told openDemocracy: “The head parasites are at the table to maximise future extraction of NHS funds.”
He added: “This is an important disclosure extracted from the government proving the direction of travel – to continue disinvesting in the NHS and increase its enforced dependence on private health care.
“The private sector was bailed out during Covid, has a lucrative four-year £10bn deal ongoing and is also in a position to earn massive profits from patients forced to go privately to avoid NHS queues of 7.2 million.”
openDemocracy has no paywall and relies on the backing of thousands of our readers to make stories like this freely available to everyone. You can support our work by making a donation here.
CommentsWe encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.