Conflicts of interest are an inevitable consequence of the increase in non-NHS organisations in the NHS.
The July 2018 appointment of Matt Hancock as Secretary of State of Health and Social Care, resulted in the media highlighting a notable conflict of interest; Mr Hancock is the recipient of nine donations from Neil Record, chairman of the Institute of Economic Affairs which advocates privatisation of the NHS.
There is also potential for conflicts of interest on commissioning bodies, such as CCGs and trusts. In particular, for GPs that are involved in private GP companies and also sit on CCGs or have close links to CCGs. One recent example is that of Dr Dan Bunstone, chairman of Warrington CCG. Dr Bunstone became chief medical officer of the private provider Push Doctor in May 2018 and also holds a post with Speed Medical, a medical reporting agency. Push Doctor signed an agreement with the large GP practice group, Modality, in 2018 which saw the start of a pilot programme for video consultations for patients at Modality practices, many of which are within the Warrington CCG area and neighbouring areas.
Several GPs had already raised concerns about the various external posts held by Dr Bunstone and the potential for conflicts of interest and the start of the Modality pilot programme appears to be the final straw and in September 2018 Dr Bunstone, resigned as chairman of Warrington CCG.