Response from NHS Confederation

The CEO of NHS Confederation responds to our recent article by Gary Walker, Kings Funds suggests NHS fees - but is it really 'independent'?

Rob Webster
18 April 2014

Dear openDemocracy

In his article on your website, Gary Walker sadly seems to have firmly grasped the wrong end of the stick, in more ways than one. First, it is absolutely crucial that we face up to the issue of NHS affordability. The fact is that without major changes to what we do and how we do it, the NHS in its current set up is not sustainable. To properly address that, we must look at the full range of options, even if we make early decisions that some are too unpalatable to contemplate further.

Second, he is wrong to suggest the NHS Confederation is in any way less than fully transparent about its funding sources. In just two clicks from our website's landing page, we clearly set out where our funding comes from and who we represent. Your readers can see it for themselves here.

I am proud that our members include the full range of organisations that make up a modern and effective NHS, including public sector bodies, independent sector organisations and charities, all of which play a valid role in England's modern health service. 

The NHS Confederation is not promoting a “private sector agenda backed by private funders”, as Mr Walker’s article claims. We are promoting a sustainable, responsive NHS where care is commissioned and provided by the organisations best placed to deliver high quality cost effective care for patients.

I have no problem with alternative views, agendas and ideologies being put forward in the discussions about how to address the challenges facing the health service. I welcome the debate. To keep the focus on the issues, it is vital that we do not mislead the public about the scale of that challenge, the importance of facing up to it, or the integrity of those already engaged in developing solutions.


Rob Webster

Chief Executive, NHS Confederation

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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