Any health secretary will be the owner of this NHS supply company, not just Matt Hancock

23 April 2020
What was claimed

Matt Hancock owns the company responsible for supplying the NHS.

Our verdict

He owns it in his capacity as Health Secretary, not as a private individual. Any Health Secretary after him will also own it.

Multiple posts on social media have linked health secretary Matt Hancock to an NHS supply company, Supply Chain Coordination Limited, pointing to documents that say the company is “wholly-owned” by Hancock. Some have stated that this is a conflict of interest

This is technically true, but open to misinterpretation. Mr Hancock does not personally own the company in a private capacity; it is owned by the government, through whoever is the Secretary of State for Health at the time.

Supply Chain Coordination Limited manages the NHS supply chain, tasked with ensuring NHS sites have the equipment they need. The supply chain as a whole has become the subject of scrutiny recently due to reported shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the new coronavirus pandemic.

The company was created in 2018, as part of a drive to deliver savings over a five year period. As the company’s website states, it is owned by the Secretary Of State as part of their role, not by Matt Hancock as a private individual. This falls under section 223 of the 2006 National Health Act, which allows any Health Secretary to “form, or participate in forming, companies to provide facilities or services to persons or bodies exercising functions, or otherwise providing services.”

The incumbent Health Secretary appoints a director to the company’s board and provides guidance through them.

Therefore, while in his capacity as Health Secretary Mr Hancock does own this company and its shares, this is not a personal pursuit and will be passed along to whoever is the next Health Secretary after him.

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