30 January 2011

How the lobbying industry has the message on NHS tied up.

We are used to the way reports from different think tanks hit the news, and it is often interesting to see how these reports seem to tie in very closely with the opinions of ministers.

This fascinating video takes us on a tour of the streets around Westminster. The reporter is specifically interested in Lobbying groups and Think Tanks that have an interest in the health service.

There are companies that are keen to step in and take up the opportunities that will be created by the new Health service regime, as it is opened up to competition through "any willing provider". These are enormously powerful businesses. A clip from america tells us that one of these companies was getting 1 out of every 700 dollars being spent on health care in America.

There are "grass roots organisations" including the interesting Nurses for Reform - which provided David Cameron with some interesting PR opportunities in the run up to the election.

There are the Think Tanks, many of which have been set up by prominent Conservative party Ministers. The think tanks bring ministers in to address their conferences to give them greater credibility. Many of these think tanks have close relationship with the private sector providers.

There are links between many of these bodies and the Conservative party.

All of these bodies which surround Westminster are together giving the same powerful messages to Ministers. The video does not specifically look at the relationship of the companies with the press, but thinking back through the recent years there have been a series of "independant reports" from the think tanks, which have popped up at strategic points through the press.

I assume that part of the job of a good communications director for the conservative party is to make sure that there are reports in preparation to support the message that they may wish to get across.

I do not know if there is anything "corrupt" or wrong about the activities of these groups, but it does concern me that companies involving this sort of money can easily crowd out the voices of those people who genuinely understand our health services.