UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Sunday, 8 September 2013


David Cameron bangs on about trade union donations to the Labour Party. He says it proves that Labour is in hock to the unions. Some may say if only. What then does Cameron call a £17000 bung from Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) to his party’s coffers? The Electoral Commission records show that the huge US health corporation has donated £17000 to the Tories since August 2010.

It may be a coincidence that this was when the Coalition announced its major shake up of health commissioning in England. As predicted since the government’s Health and Social Care Act became law, more services have been gobbled up by the private sector. No doubt HCA share holders are very happy with the government’s direction on health provision.

Interestingly the Competition Commission reported last month that HCA’s, along with other major private providers, particularly Spire and BMI, domination in the market is a detriment to the consumer (sic) of £179 to £193 million.

The report goes on to say that HCA charges insurers significantly higher prices than other operators.
As an aside the commission found that private hospitals offer access to resources and perks, often cash, to consultants to encourage them to refer patients to their facilities. So when your doctor suggests a private hospital for your NHS treatment you might wonder what he or she pocketed for the recommendation.

Thank goodness corruption only happens in other countries.

Many would argue that trade union donations to the Labour Party are not only tightly regulated but they have little influence on the party’s policy, It would appear that is not a problem for the big corporations who flash the cash to the Tories.

Andy Burnham, the shadow Health Secretary has reminded Cameron that he does not have the permission of the British people to sell off the NHS. One way to remind him is for thousands of people to turn up at his party conference on 29th September in Manchester and yell “Hands off our NHS!”