Brazen: private health exploits NHS smears

If any clearer demonstration of the reasons behind the government’s and media’s strategy of escalating, negative NHS coverage was needed, it has been provided by a particularly shameless private health insurance website.

So sure of themselves are private health providers under this deeply, instinctively and intentionally anti-NHS government that this site doesn’t even attempt to be subtle. Instead it brazenly plays on the fear created by the barrage of skewed NHS smear stories to attempt to harvest cash from gullible or ill-informed people:


In a tactic that would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and sinister, the site attempts to scare people into paying out unknown-but-no-doubt-hefty sums to buy private health insurance under its scandalous heading:

If you thought the NHS was enough to protect your health, then you might think twice after reading these 3 shocking true accounts! Ensure your health is protected today

It then goes on to list its three ‘horror stories’, before preparing for its sales pitch with this little gem:

An astonishing 16,000 complaints were made about the NHS in 2012-13 alone, illustrating that the core ‘care’ principle of nursing seems to be disappearing rapidly from its practice. NHS nurses even claimed the new generation of university-trained nurses felt basic care tasks, such as bathing their patients, were ‘beneath them’

Not content with smearing the NHS, it also has to smear nurses as uncaring and arrogant – but only NHS nurses, of course. Then its doctors’ turn:

If you were to fall ill, it’s only natural that you would want to be treated and cared for to a high standard: Private facilities have strong reputations to uphold and less time pressures, meaning consultants can dedicate more attention to individual patients.

An astonishingly misleading statement, since private health companies have paid millions into the funds of the Tories who are creating the time pressures. Not to mention the fact that a private health facility was recently bought back by public funds because of documented avoidable deaths – a fact conveniently ignored by the anti-NHS press and the government.

Since private facilities have so much more time, and their reputations to consider, you have to wonder what their excuse was for these ‘needless deaths’ (to borrow one of the Daily Mail’s favourite anti-NHS catchphrase).

And the bad grammar – ‘less time pressures’ – shows how cavalier these people are. They have such contempt for their dupes that they can’t even be bothered to pay a proper copywriter to create their text. This contempt – and deliberate twisting of facts – echoes perfectly the media line that private health has orchestrated just as it has with the Tories. The reality is that the mortality rate in the NHS fell consistently for years under the last Labour government, as Bruce Keogh pointed out in his recent report into supposedly-failing hospitals:

It is important to understand that mortality in all NHS hospitals has been falling over the last decade: overall mortality has fallen by about 30% and the improvement is even greater when the increasing complexity of patients being treated is taken into account.

Or as this graph  by the Nuffield Trust shows even more clearly:


The ‘astonishing 16,000 complaints’ last year sounds like a huge figure. But the NHS treats 1 million patients every 36 hours – which equates to around 243 million treatments a year. Those 16,000 complaints mean a rate of..


It’s astonishing alright. Astonishingly low.

Compare that with the ‘big 6′ energy companies’ complaint rate of 100,000 a week, and you start to see that the NHS is actually pretty freaking awesome.

You won’t find any of this on the private health site, of course. Nor will you find it in most of the media. What you will find is a blatant, brazen attempt to exploit deliberately-constructed falsehoods in order to bilk even more money out of the ignorant – and such hubris that subtlety is not even attempted.

So blatant, so brazen, that you could say they ‘Telegraphed’ it.

22 responses to “Brazen: private health exploits NHS smears

  1. Pingback: Brazen: private health exploits NHS smears | We...·

  2. Pingback: Brazen: private health exploits NHS smears | SMILING CARCASS'S TWO-PENNETH·

  3. Reblogged at SMILING CARCASS’S TWO-PENNETH and commented-

    “There can be no more despicable economic act than to play on folks health fears for profit. This is why we must fight for our NHS and refuse private health companies access to the NHS. If I had my way, private provision of health care would be outlawed, just as the Tories are trying to outlaw the NHS through economics and lies.”

  4. Pingback: Brazen: private health exploits NHS smears | St...·

  5. Walking back from a meeting last month, my mate told me of a National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) phrase which summed it all up :
    DESTABALISE ( make cuts/ reduce staff)
    CRITICISE ( get the media to say the NHS no good and find cases to criticise because of ! Suggest and claim that private is better…)
    PRIVATISE…..( and wreck the lot)

    So succinctly :


    It is crystal clear that this is what they do.
    Apply to many aspects in life…
    Health and Safety is another clear example…
    but we fightback and oppose.
    Best wishes…

  6. This webpage should be referred to the ASA. To cite the Daily Mail or Telegraph is inexcusable, given their track records for misrepresenting the actual research the figures are based on.

  7. Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    Wow. 16,000 complaints among 243,000,000 treatments in a year – that’s a 0.006 per cent complaint rate. Well done, NHS! You’re doing a great job in really difficult times, with a government that HATES you (and let’s all remember that, next time Cameron spews the exact opposite) and private companies that want to carve you up and eat you for breakfast.
    Let’s all just try telling our NHS doctors and nurses how much we value and appreciate the care they provide us, supported by our taxes.

    • I wonder what the complaint rate for private treatment is? I suspect rather higher. Plus private healthcare providers will keep shtum about any problems.

      • Yes, I find this one of the most scandalous aspects of Govt policy – brazenly gambling the health of vulnerable citizens by surreptitiously nudging more & more fragile patients into the hands of totally unaccountable private companies, as hospitals and services etc are smeared/undermined before being outsourced.

        I’d be amazed, were Lord Denning still alive, if such a judge wouldn’t immediately make void NHS contracts made with any private service providers entrusted with our health where transparency (FOI, ‘no gag clauses’ etc) hadn’t already been imposed, monitored and enforced as a PRE-condition.

        Why should ANY private company, beholden only to their shareholders yet handed responsibility for health and furthermore made privy to deeply personal information, not experience the strictest of public scutiny regimes and be required to accept complete, direct and immediate accountability?

  8. Hi Steve
    Well done for highlighting the parasitical activities of Top10Health Insurance. I have tried to find out more about this company but they are not registered at Companies House.
    However, there is a company called Top 10 Search Ltd whose activities are listed as “Other information activities not elsewhere classified” Top10Search Ltd says it is one of the top UK based internet marketing agencies. So it might have some connection with this other Top 10 set this seems like a marketing exercise to extract cash from the unsuspecting.
    Its registered address is 6-8 Yarm Road Stockton on Tees.
    Interestingly this address is also the home of a very well known notorious company called A4E, which is expert at getting its hands on Tax Payers cash via Government contracts and then shoveling the cash into the pockets of its Chief Exec.
    Is this evidence of A4E branching out into scamming the public and getting commission from the insurance companies through the fear generated by demonising the NHS or is it just a coincidence tat they have the same address, or is that there is no connection between Top 10 Search and Top 10 Health Insurance. I think we should know!
    Are any of your followers based in Stockton on Tees and if so could they pop round to 6-8 Yarm Road TS18 3JA and solve this conundrum?
    While they are at it could they have a look at A21 Technologies Ltd at the Stockton Business Centre 70 – 74 Brunswick Street Stockton on Tees TS18 1DW. This is another address used by Top 10 Search Limited.
    However A21 Technologies do not appear to be registered at Companies House, which is rather odd isn’t it?
    There various units at the centre. Top 10 are at Unit 3. Is this the same unit as A21 etc.
    Someone somewhere must know the facts. Hope you can get to the truth of it.
    Best wishes and good luck.

    • Hi,

      Have you read ‘Deadly Spin’ by Wendell Potter who used to work for the health insurance industry in the US but turned whistle blower? He describes the very organised way in which the PR / communications industry goes about all this [as you describe here and as the example above illustrates]. One of the reasons our campaign to save the NHS is having so little effect is that we don’t have the PR / communications expertise that the private health industry is able to buy – and we fail to co-ordinate the meagre resources we do have to communicate the problem to the public. Our communications are impassioned and worthy but we fail to understand how to get our message across because we don’t have the experience, expertise and funding that the health industry has behind it.

  9. Interesting, the whois belongs to “GLOBAL DOMAIN PRIVACY” which seems to be a supplier/runner of domains/websites to keep the true company hidden. GDP is registered in Italy.
    The “privacy policy” of the site states it transfers data outside of the EU area, at a guess to avoid all thoes pesky rules… DPA, Cookies, etc.
    It is not a UK company… so might be a scam, or might be a large US insurance company renouned for never paying out on its policies.

    • Or, having looked at the “get a quote” page, is nothing more than a non-added value “broker/middle man” who either gets paid by referal fees or charges a fee to do the work you can do yourself by trawling the real insurers to get comparisons.

  10. All this obscurity shows what we will be up against in the increasingly privatised NHS. These people make the NHS look like perspex!

  11. Talking of the media, the long-running complaint to the BBC about misuse of Mid Staffs statistics is now at it’s 5th level (is this a record?) I don’t take this to mean that they will be shortly apologising, retracting, putting it all straight, demanding restitution for Mid Staffs hospitals etc but at least they are having to seriously consider how to get out of it and have noticeably softened their editorial policy on this matter meanwhile.

    • I find it quite immoral how medical negligence lawyers exaggerate and distort the problem of medical negligence in the NHS. Just look at the timelines of med neg lawyers on Twitter.

  12. Top10Search Ltd is in no way affiliated with any other company. They are an Internet Marketing company who are authorised by Bing and Google to sell bespoke advertising packages on there behalf. Please can people be more thorough with there research before creating misinformed associations. Thanks

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