Chinas silent takeover of NHS is a national security issue MP warns

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Sir Mike said it is a “massive concern” that the NHS could become reliant on Chinese suppliers for both specialist items and everyday items.

The Conservative MP has pressed for details from the Government about every Chinese-owned or Chinese-financed company that has a contract with the department of health or the NHS.

The Government says that obtaining the location of overseas suppliers “could only be obtained at disproportionate cost” and “information is not held on whether a contract is held with a Chinese-financed company”. Neither NHS England nor NHS Improvement collect this information centrally.

Sir Mike said: “National security isn’t all about guns and weapons. It’s also about national security around infrastructure.”

He argues the pandemic has demonstrated the importance of security of supply.

Just as the role of China-based companies in supplying 5G communications infrastructure has received intense scrutiny, he says the importance of Chinese-owned companies in health infrastructure should also be the focus of attention.

He wants to ensure there is ministerial approval of contracts of products that are “vital to the national economy and the health of the nation”.

“Before these contracts are approved, either the Cabinet Office or the relevant department needs to actually okay it,” he said. “That means ministerial oversight.”

The Hemel Hempstead MP is concerned that the department of health’s former state-owned supplier of blood plasma is now owned by a China-based investment group.

The department brought together several operating divisions in 2010 and formed BPL Holdings. It sold a majority stake to private equity firm Bain Capital in 2013 and China’s Creat Group Corporation bought BPL in 2016 for £820million.

Sir Mike, who argues the sale should not have happened, used a parliamentary question to ask whether the Government carried out a risk assessment of the sale of BPL by Bain Capital in 2016.

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