Dawn Butler MP writes to the Health Secretary asking the Government to end Frank Hester's contracts

After Frank Hester's alleged racist and violent remarks, he should no longer hold contracts with our NHS. He cannot be trusted with our data and we must safeguard the reputation of the NHS.

Which is why I wrote to the Health Secretary urging the Government to end association with Hester immediately.

Dear Secretary of State,

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding the NHS’s ongoing association with Frank Hester considering recent events that have been covered extensively in the media.

As you will be aware, Frank Hester has been at the centre of considerable controversy due to his alleged racist abuse directed at my colleague, Diane Abbott MP, and his very disturbing suggestion that “she should be shot” and made him “want to hate all black women”.

It should go without saying that such racist and violent views are not only entirely abhorrent but also completely incompatible with the very values that we and indeed the NHS hold dear. The NHS constitution for England makes clear that we embed the principles of respect, dignity and compassion at the very core of the organisation.

I am therefore incredibly concerned that Frank Hester’s company (The Phoenix Partnership) currently holds contracts with the NHS, running IT systems holding 60m medical records, including for thousands of GP practices across the country. I understand that The Phoenix Partnership has been paid more than £400m by the NHS and public bodies since 2016.

I hope you will agree that there is a moral imperative in the public sector that, in using public funds, we seek only to do business with reputable individuals and companies who uphold the ethical standards and good practice of the organisation they serve; for indeed their comments and values are a reflection upon the NHS itself. I would contend that based on Frank Hester’s alleged comments he is not someone we should do business with, and that his values are not compatible with the NHS and the principles within its constitution.

The NHS stands as a symbol of compassion, care and integrity and I am concerned that by continuing to do business with Frank Hester, the reputation of the NHS may be undermined.

I am therefore calling upon you to end this association with Frank Hester.

I appreciate this may be a complex matter but as a starting point, I believe you must now conduct an immediate and thorough review of all contracts that the NHS and the Department of Health hold with Frank Hester’s companies.

It is essential that you instruct your legal representatives to review the contracts and the clauses within them to determine the extent of the association and of your obligations within them. I would urge you to, where possible, urgently terminate the relationship and elsewhere commence the process of extraction.

I also call upon you to publicly condemn Frank Hester’s alleged comments and make clear that the NHS will not associate itself and do business with those who hold racist and hateful views.

This, I believe, is vital to safeguarding the reputation of the NHS.

I look forward to your urgent response and trust that you will take swift and decisive action in this matter.

Finally, I reserve the right to share this letter as it is falls within the public interest.

Yours sincerely,