After reading our recent posts on Circle Health Martin Horwood has slightly amended a page on his website so that it no longer describes Circle healthcare partnership as “100% owned by its staff”. There are still two errors on that page (one significant, one minor) which are listed at the bottom of this post, but of much greater concern is the fact that Martin still shows no willingness to inform visitors to his website about the true nature of Circle Health despite telling us that “I can unequivocally say I wouldn’t want it running Cheltenham General”! Curiously, Martin doesn`t explain why he wouldn`t want Circle to run Cheltenham General – does he think his constituents wouldn`t want to know? If Martin has reservations about Circle Health why has he said nothing about Circle being the first private organisation to take over the running of an NHS hospital (Hinchingbrooke hospital in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire) in February this year – a very significant milestone? The reason appears to be that this would undermine his claim that the NHS is not being privatised – this is very different from the line Martin took before the general election when he told readers of the LibDem Courier in March 2010 that:
“The Conservatives’ track record on the NHS is one of running it to rack and ruin. But even more worrying are the constant stream of quotes from Conservatives suggesting deep cuts, new charges and plans for privatisation. I am determined to fight any Conservative cuts to our NHS. Tory MPs have voted against the extra money that has gone into the NHS over the last ten years and we have no reason to think that they won’t cut frontline service again.”
The attempts by Martin to promote Circle Health will please LibDem Peer Lord Watson. Watson is Chairman of Havas Media UK whose subsidiary MPG Media Contacts won the integrated media planning and buying account for Circle Health in April 2011, worth £1 million. MPG Media Contacts describes its activities thus: “we help build meaningful brands to drive business success and greater brand fame”. No doubt Lord Watson would take a very dim view of a LibDem MP undermining his company`s profitability by telling the truth about a major client – and judging by Martin`s website there`s no risk of that!
A comprehensive list of the disturbing connections between private healthcare and MPs and Peers can be read on the excellent Social Investigations website.
Just for the record, here are a few other things Martin got wrong in the comments on Circle Health he left on Cheltenham Against Cuts, as well as on his own website:
Martin`s website says:
“Steve Mellon of the successful Circle healthcare partnership” – the man`s name is actually Steve Melton, the June 2011 report from the All-Party Group on Employee Ownership mispells his name 6 times and gets it right just once. He is not “of the successful Circle healthcare partnership”, he was (at the time of giving evidence to the Parliamentary group) Chief Operations Officer of Circle Health, as the report correctly states, and his background is in retail logistics, not health. What a pity the All-Party Group failed to interview someone from Circle Partnership. As this website revealed, the Chair of the Group, Jesse Norman MP, received a £5,000 donation from one of the biggest investors in Circle Health yet failed to declare an interest in the report.
Martin`s comment on Cheltenham Against Cuts says:
“Circle Partnership, which your diagram shows is 49.9% owned by CH, is majority owned (not 100% owned) by its healthcare employees”
No Martin, that`s not what it shows!
If Martin can`t cope with the complication of the diagram perhaps he should visit Circle Health`s old webpage entitled “The Circle partnership model” which has now mysteriously disappeared, but can still be read thanks to the Internet Archive, which has archived the page here.
It clearly says that “49.9% of Circle is owned by Circle Partnership Ltd”.
Even the otherwise biased and compromised report of the All Party Parliamentary group on Employee Ownership gets it almost right when it says “Circle health, 49% owned by employees”.