New NHS England chairman Richard Meddings admits he used private healthcare
The millionaire favorite to become the new chairman of NHS England revealed today that he is using private healthcare.
Former banker Richard Meddings – who led the TSB for four years – has revealed he went private last year when expectations for the NHS soared to record highs.
The 63-year-old, who is No10 favorite for the job, was interviewed by MPs on the health select committee to assess his suitability for the job.
He revealed he first went to his NHS GP and was diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis – a type of blood clot that usually develops in the leg – at the end of last year .
Mr Meddings was referred for tests on the health service, which can take more than three months, and decided to seek treatment privately.
As chairman of the NHSE, he will play a key role in Sajid Javid’s overhaul of the organization, which aims to cut wait times and eliminate record delays.
But he must have gone back to his early teens when asked to give an example of when he was treated by the NHS.
Mr Meddings said he still “absolutely” trusted the health service bus which had access to private health care since his mid-twenties as one of the perks of his job in the city.
The health secretary is said to have nominated the former Treasury Board member for the role because of the ‘financial challenge’ he can bring to the health service.
Mr Javid was a successful banker himself for 18 years before entering politics in 2009, working at Deutsche Bank – where Mr Meddings was a non-executive director from 2015 to 2019.
But his potential appointment had already sparked controversy because he has no experience in health and social care.
No 10 favorite candidate to become chairman of NHS England, Richard Meddings, 63, today admitted he sought private healthcare when struck down with the disease
Waiting lists for NHS surgeries are at their highest level ever in England, topping over 6 million for the first time since records began in November last year
Sajid Javid plans ‘academy school’ style NHS revolution
The Health Secretary plans to create academy-style hospitals to tackle post-pandemic waiting lists.
As part of the reorganization, Sajid Javid will give more freedom to well-run hospitals that manage to treat patients quickly.
But he will come down hard on the failure of NHS trusts in a bid to deal with the ‘huge’ variation in performance across the health service.
This would see poorly run hospitals turn into “reform trusts”, reports the Times, similar to Blairite reforms where schools deemed inadequate were taken over.
And key NHS officials, or outside sponsors, could also be parachuted in to support chains of hospitals.
The plans are still in their early stages and are expected to be presented in a white paper later this year.
But they raise the prospect of the NHS facing multiple reforms at once, raising fears that the changes could be ‘inconsistent’ with each other.
The upheaval comes following a new study which suggests employing more health managers or paying them higher salaries does not improve the quality of NHS hospitals.
As chairman of the NHSE, Mr Meddings’ main duties will be to hold the organization accountable to deliver improvements in patient care, value for money and broader healthcare reforms.
He has nearly 40 years of experience in the financial industry, including heading the TSB when he was hit by a computer crisis that left nearly two million people locked out of their accounts for weeks – a fiasco that dubbed it the Truly Shambolic Bank.
He also currently chairs Teach First, a nonprofit program that coordinates teacher training and aims to improve education standards in disadvantaged areas.
During questioning, Mr Meddings also admitted to having no work experience in the health or social care sector.
He revealed that he does not yet have a plan to reduce health inequalities between regions.
And he admitted he didn’t know how he would have done things differently over the past two years during the Covid pandemic.
Asked if he had used private healthcare, Mr Meddings replied: ‘Yes.
“One of the aspects of the financial services industry is actually, probably since my mid-twenties, I think part of my compensation package has been the provision of private health care.”
Mr Meddings said he was referred to the private sector for treatment after being diagnosed with unprovoked DVT “late last year”.
He visited his NHS GP and was referred for tests on the health service before being treated privately.
After being accused of not trusting the NHS, he insisted he had been a supporter of the NHS all his life, citing his twin brother who works as a surgeon for the health service.
He said: ‘I don’t think that’s true, I absolutely trusted the NHS and still do. I am a passionate supporter of what he stands for and what he does.
Mr Meddings said he last used the NHS for a blood test around Christmas this year, after his GP contacted him.
And he said he had experience in the health service since his mother and sister were sick.
The current chair of NHS England, Lord Prior of Brampton, a Tory peer and former health minister who previously chaired several NHS organisations, is due to step down next year.
Mr Meddings led the TSB when it was hit by a computer crisis that left nearly 2 million people locked out of their accounts for weeks – a fiasco that has dubbed it the Truly Shambolic Bank.
More than 80,000 unvaccinated NHS workers are at risk of being made redundant
Tens of thousands of NHS workers who have not received the Covid vaccine are made redundant in just a fortnight.
All frontline workers who have not received a shot will be summoned to formal meetings from February 4 and warned that they face dismissal.
NHS England guidelines say advisories will then be issued from today, with March 31 marking the end of the notice period.
All frontline staff must have received both doses of the Covid jab by April 1, which means by February 3 the first must have been administered.
Managers have been told they can move unvaccinated doctors from the front line into roles that don’t involve direct contact with patients. Bosses will not have to help staff find “suitable alternative employment” and severance pay will not be paid to those made redundant.
More than 80,000 staff, who represent 6% of the entire NHS workforce, are still unvaccinated. The government’s own estimates last year suggested the move could result in the departure of 73,000 health service workers.
But he was forced to go back to his ‘early teens’ to give another example of when he used the NHS, after having his teeth knocked out after ‘failing to bend down for a ball cricket”.
He said: ‘[I] was actually in the health service for about 11 operations, two of them in the private sector, eight or nine in the health service.
“And the last of those was a delivery of cosmetics for me in the private sector.
“So I used the health service, I’m a passionate believer in the health service and what it stands for.”
Labor MP Barbara Keeley said: ‘Except when you want to be referred to the private sector.
The current chairman of NHS England, Lord Prior of Brampton, a Tory peer and former health minister, is due to step down next year.
Ministers want his successor to drive reforms, oversee spending and improve the NHS’s use of digital technology.
NHS England has an annual budget of £150billion and employs 1.2million people, and the chairman’s role pays £63,000 a year for three days a week.
Mr Meddings was chairman of the TSB until earlier this year and was also a non-executive director of the Treasury and Credit Suisse.
The chartered accountant was previously the chief financial officer of Standard Chartered Bank during the financial crash and sat on the board of Deutsche Bank when it paid more than £5billion to settle US mis-selling allegations mortgage loans.
He became chairman of the TSB just months before a botched IT upgrade in 2018 that left millions of people without access to their accounts and 1,300 losing money to fraudulent attacks.
Mr Meddings apologized to customers for the debacle, which left the TSB with a £370million bill for compensation and customer expenses. He was also dragged before MPs to face questions.
His experience in crisis management then appointed him to the board of Credit Suisse shortly after the Swiss banking giant was accused of spying on some of its top executives.
MPs on the committee are currently deciding whether they will recommend him for the NHS England job.
Their report will be reviewed by Mr Javid before a nomination is formally agreed.