A healthcare company ultimately controlled by leading Tory donor and former party chairman, Lord Ashcroft, has received a £350m contract as part of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination roll-out, openDemocracy has learned.
Last month the Department of Health and Social Care gave the lucrative contract to Medacs Healthcare plc. In recent weeks, the outsourcing company, which specialises in providing staff to the NHS, social care services and private healthcare providers, has been advertising for staff to work on the huge vaccination project.
Medacs is a subsidiary of Impellam Group, a FTSE-listed firm whose largest shareholder is Michael Ashcroft, the Belize-based Conservative peer who has donated millions to the party, including more than £175,000 in the past year.
The award of a major COVID contract to a firm with close ties to the Tories has sparked further questions about politically connected firms benefiting financially from the UK’s pandemic response.
Medacs was criticised in 2019 when a Care Quality Commission report on a homecare service run by the firm was rated “inadequate”.
The regulator found “that the care people received was not safe. The majority of people’s care calls were not delivered at the time they were expected and people gave examples of where this had impacted significantly upon them and the safety of the care that they received.”
Furthermore the report noted that: “medicines records were not kept up to date and CQC identified instances where medicines records showed a potential overdose”.