The Labour Party has written to Theresa May demanding an investigation after it has been revealed Health Secretary Matt Hancock has potentially broken ministerial code. The Conservative MP has been representing West Suffolk since 2010 and was appointed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in 2018. Matt Hancock has been accused of breaking ministerial code by endorsing a private healthcare company.
An interview with the MP of West Suffolk appeared in the Evening Standard which also had financial support from a firm called Babylon. The article was published on Tuesday and featured the Babylon logo and stated that the firm was the newspaper’s partner.
Hancock has shown admiration for the company’s GP at Hand app, which allows users to have visual consultations with doctors via their smartphone. He was quoted “this technology allows more resources for the people visiting GPs directly”.
Justin Madders MP, Shadow Health Minister has stated that Hancock repeatedly promoted the app and the company and has therefore breached a vital section of the Ministerial code. He has been accused of breaching sections 7.12 and 7.13 of the ministerial code. The code states that ministers should not ‘normally accept invitations to act as patrons of, or otherwise offer support to, pressure groups, or organisations dependent in whole or in part on government funding’.
A final comment- From Editor- Heidi Boahen
As an MP, it is his duty to represent his constituency and as a Secretary for Health and Social Care, it is Hancock’s duty to not only do what is best for his department but to also follow Miniserial codes by all means.
It has been stated that Matt Hancock was not aware that Babylon would sponsor the article which could be a possibility as a representative from the Evening Standard has stated that Matt Hancock was approached for an interview, and he agreed. However, this issue requires further investigation by the Prime Minister. If the Department of Health and Social Care is working towards a tech ecosystem within the NHS then this has to be done in such a way that it follows guidelines and codes.