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January the 14th. 2001
A comprehensive but sad report by Dr.Rita Pal
May the 12th. 1998
Tony Blair, the Labour Party and its corruption
Dissolution & establishment of NHS Trusts in Bedfordshire
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Dr.Chai Patel, Care First, BUPA and the deal with Bedfordshire County Council

Dr.Chai Patel is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Westminster Healthcare plc, Britain's 3rd largest nursing home company, which he took control of in a 214 million deal in 1998. He gave more than 5,000 to the Labour Party in 1999. He was ranked as the 8th most important person in the health sector by the Guardian in 2000. He is a member of the Better Regulation task Force.

He was formerly the Chief Executive of Care First plc, also one of the largest operators of private nursing homes in the UK. In October 1999 he bought the Priory Hospital Group, 13 acute psychiatric hospitals, for 100 million. He was Chair of the Better Regulation Task Force's Working Group on Long Term Care and a member of the Department of Health's 'action team' on NHS bed use which recommended that the NHS should place older patients into private nursing homes.

Westminster Healthcare is made up of Westminster Senior Living (nursing homes and retirement housing), Priory Healthcare (the psychiatric hospitals of the Priory Hospital Group including medium secure units) and Westminster Diagnostics (diagnostic imaging, including MRI, CT scannning and ultrasound).

He is a member of the Department of Health Benchmark Standards Group, Deputy Chair of the Continuing Care Conference and a member of the Residential Forum.

Dr.Patel is also a Governor of the National Institute of Social Work and a Member of the Older People's Taskforce. He is trustee of IPPR, Help the Aged and Windsor Leadership Trust.


Find here below a detailed account of all the major steps taken by BUPA in its quest for expansion.

22-Mar-97, TC Group, formed from the recent merger of Takare and Court Cavendish, is to be renamed Care First Group.

03-Oct-97, Care First, the nursing homes operator, has spent 7m buying back 4.1% of its shares.

24-Oct-97, Care First, the nursing homes group, has received a takeover approach from Bupa worth up to 215m.

27-Oct-97, Bupa is said to be considering plans to convert some of Care First's nursing homes into rehabilitation centres and clinics if its 200m takeover succeeds.

03-Nov-97, Care First, the nursing homes operator that is in takeover talks with Bupa, has received a surprise 240m approach from a venture capital group, a move which could force Bupa to increase its offer.

13-Nov-97, Care First, the nursing homes operator, has rejected a 241m takeover offer from Bupa, saying the offer was too low.

06-Dec-97, Care First, the nursing home company, has failed to secure a higher takeover bid from its former chief executive, thus increasing the chances of Bupa succeeding with its 241m hostile bid.

13-Dec-97, HSBC Investment Bank has bought a 1% stake in Care First, apparently on behalf of Chai Patel who is still interested in acquiring the nursing homes company.

18-Dec-97, The Office of Fair Trading has cleared Bupa's 241m hostile takeover bid for Care First, the nursing homes group.

23-Dec-97, Bupa has acquired Care First, the nursing homes operator, in a deal that values the company at 273m and will help Bupa build up a national network of healthcare services.

24-Apr-98, Bupa is facing an unofficial investigation by the Office of Fair Trading over a bonus scheme it is offering to consultants who refer patients to a network of Bupa-recommended hospitals, and the British Medical Association is warning that the scheme could result in doctors being struck off.

01-Jun-98, Bupa is looking to form partnerships to move into Chile's health insurance market, and it is also considering setting up in Argentina.

20-Jul-98, Bupa has won a 108m contract to run 15 nursing homes for Bedfordshire County Council, and has pledged to upgrade the homes and build a new one in Dunstable.

18-Sep-98, Bupa, the private health company, is looking to open a second customer service centre in Manchester.

19-Oct-98, Halifax is said to be considering plans to launch a 2bn bid for Bupa, the private healthcare group.

11-Dec-98, Bupa is acquiring Barbican Healthcare, the operator of dental practices, for 23m.

15-Feb-99, Bupa is to set up a national training centre for its health care staff at Huddersfield University.

17-Feb-99, Bupa Hospital Hull & East Riding is planning a 5m expansion to provide a new physiotherapy department and a permanent base for its hyperbaric chamber.

23-Feb-99, Community Hospitals Group has agreed contracts for all 21 of its hospitals to join either Bupa or PPP's network, in order to secure additional work from the health insurers.

03-Jun-99, Birse has won a 5m contract to extend Bupa's Hull & East Riding hospital in Anlaby.

07-Oct-99, Bupa is considering plans to raise 200m in the bond market in order to refinance debt.

04-Nov-99, Bupa has dropped plans for a 250m bond issue, due to declining interest among investors in the nursing homes sector.

10-Feb-00, Bupa is to refinance its healthcare business by raising 235m in a bond issue backed by income from 116 of its 221 care homes.

31-Mar-00, Bupa is consolidating its Manchester-based team of 180 sales staff onto one site in Salford, in order to streamline the service it provides to intermediaries.

08-May-00, Bupa has indicated that it will agree to sell six hospitals in order to gain regulatory approval for its 230m acquisition of Community Hospitals Group.

Tuesday June 13, 2000
Byers sends Bupa hospitals takeover to watchdog
An article by Andrew Clark from The GUARDIAN newspaper
The trade secretary, Stephen Byers, has referred Bupa's proposed 260m takeover of Community Hospitals to the competition commission, prompting calls for a wider enquiry into the private healthcare market.
The deal would add 21 hospitals to Bupa's network of 36, giving the private healthcare group one in four of Britain's private hospitals.
Mr Byers said he agreed with the office of fair trading's view that this raised "competition concerns in respect of both the private medical insurance and private medical services markets in the UK".
The decision was welcomed by the British Medical Association, which joined the Consumers' Association in lobby ing for the deal to be blocked.
Derek Machin, chairman of the BMA's private practice committee, said: "I think this is absolutely appropriate. It's a very unhealthy situation to have a monopoly insurer also becoming a monopoly provider of hospital facilities."
Bupa has about 40% of the private insurance market, while its biggest rival, PPP, has a further 30%. Both have been keenly expanding by buying hospitals and nursing homes.
Critics say this causes problems because insurers are controlling both the cost of care and the price of policies, although Bupa and PPP insist they have "Chinese walls" separating their facilities from their insurance arms.
The office of fair trading made informal inquiries into the private healthcare market last autumn but opted not to begin a formal investigation.
A Bupa spokesman said last night: "We're disappointed, obviously. The issues which some of those who opposed the bid were airing had, we felt, been dealt with by the OFT last year."
Bupa's 650p-a-share bid automatically lapsed yesterday and Community Hospitals' shares fell 40p to 522.5p.

13-Jun-00, Bupa's 230m agreed takeover bid for Community Hospitals Group has lapsed after being referred to the Competition Commission, which could result in other large hospital groups making rival offers.

12-Dec-00, South Cambridgeshire District Council has approved plans for the extension of the BUPA Cambridge Lea Hospital, in order to provide a further operating theatre and other facilities.

05-Mar-01, Omnilabs, the supplier of laboratory services to Bupa and Harley Street, has raised 2.8m to finance the expansion of the business.

10-Apr-01, Bupa is seeking opportunities to expand its health care business in continental Europe, and is particularly interested in Spanish nursing homes.

04-Dec-01, Bupa is planning to transform the Redwood hospital in Redhill into a diagnostic and surgery centre for NHS patients, as part of the government strategy to increase the involvement of the private sector in the NHS.

14-Feb-02, Bupa Properties is planning a 5m project to build an operating theatre and extend outpatient facilities at Roundhay Hall in Leeds.


CRIME IGNORED is CRIME PROMOTED and ENDORSED