Mark Britnell

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Mark Britnell (born 1966) has been a partner and Head of Healthcare, Europe & UK for advisory firm KPMG since 2009. He was previously Director-General for Commissioning and System Management for the National Health Service (NHS) of England (July 2007–September 2009).


Britnell is a graduate of the University of Warwick; during his time there he was a Trotskyist activist in the Labour Club.[1] He would join the fast-track Management Training Scheme for the NHS and received his postgraduate education at Warwick University Business School.

His career includes various management posts in the NHS and a spell with the Australian health service, a year in the civil service fast stream which was sponsored by the Australian College of Health Service Executives to work in Melbourne and Sydney before being seconded to the NHSE in 1992. Britnell joined St Mary’s Hospital in London as a General Manager before being appointed as a Director at Central Middlesex Hospital (now part of North West London Hospitals NHS Trust) in 1995, when he was named Project Director for Ambulatory Care and Diagnostic (ACAD) PFI scheme - the first of its kind in the UK.[2]

From 2000-06, he was chief executive at University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. In 2006 he was appointed as chief executive of the South Central Strategic Health Authority. He was Director-General for Commissioning and System Management for the National Health Service (NHS) of England (July 2007-September 2009).[3] In March 2006, after Nigel Crisp[4] resigned as NHS Chief Executive, Britnell was tipped as a likely contender for the post, but did not apply for the job, and in 2009, he left the NHS to join KPMG.[5] He has since spoken at a number of events, including the UK Faculty of Public Health Annual Conference[6] and the European Health Management Association Annual Conference.[7] He has written about health for the Reform[8] think-tank, the BMJ[9] and The Times,[10] he has been interviewed by publications including the Financial Express in India[11] and the Gulf Times,[12] and he is a trustee of a cancer charity.[13]

Policy Advisor[edit]

Britnell plays an active part in the Modernisation Agenda and sat on the Professions Modernisation Action Team which helped produce the NHS Plan 2000. He currently sits on the Capital and Capacity Taskforce for the NHS Plan. He has also represented the Department of Health on the study/development tour of China and plays a leading part in the European Union sponsored development and exchange program with Academic Clinical Centres in South Africa. In May 2011, it was reported that he had been invited to join a panel of health experts to advise Number 10 on health policy and reform in general, but not the reforms in the Health and Social Care Bill 2011.[14]

In 2010, while discussing the reforms to a healthcare industry conference, he was quoted as stating: "In future, The NHS will be a state insurance provider not a state deliverer", and that "The NHS will be shown no mercy and the best time to take advantage of this will be in the next couple of years."[15][16]

KPMG issued a press statement on behalf of Britnell on 16 May 2011 stating "The article in The Observer [15 May] attributes quotes to me that do not properly reflect discussions held at a private conference last October. Nor was I given the opportunity to respond ahead of publication. I worked in the NHS for twenty years and now work alongside it. I have always been a passionate advocate of the NHS and believe that it has a great future. Like many other countries throughout the world, the pressure facing healthcare funding and provision are enormous. If the NHS is to change and modernize the public, private and voluntary sectors will all need to play their part." The Health Service Journal website published a longer statement from Britnell on 17 May, prompted by the article in The Observer. In it Britnell explained his perspective on the reform of the NHS. Among wide ranging remarks he stated that "[o]f course, the vast majority of care - quite rightly in the UK context - will always be provided by public sector organisations (currently, about 95% of it) and will be paid out of taxation" and "[t]he issue of competition, which now seems to be conflated with privatisation, is unhelpful and misleading and, at best, only a small part of reform. Competition can exist without privatisation and the NHS can maintain its historic role in funding care while dealing with a richer variety of providers - public sector, social enterprise and private organisations".[17] Commenting on the UK health service in a piece for the Guardian Health Network, Britnell said "I'm proud to have worked for the NHS, with its great people, and now feel privileged to be able to work on health systems internationally."[18]


  1. ^ Britnell profile in The Guardian
  2. ^ Britnell biodata at the UK Department of Health
  3. ^ "Director General for Commissioning & System Management at the Department of Health". The Kings Fund. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  4. ^ Mark Britnell, Patrick Butler, The Guardian, 19 September 2001
  5. ^ Vize, Richard (2009-06-11). "Mark Britnell quits NHS for private sector". Health Service Journal. Retrieved 8 January 2010. 
  6. ^ UK Faculty of Public Health Annual Conference 2011, [1], 4 July 2011
  7. ^ European Health Management Association Annual Conference 2011, [2], 23 June 2011
  8. ^ "The Next Ten Years - an essay within the collection". Reformdate=1 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "An uncomfortable truth". The BMJ. 20 March 2012. 
  10. ^ "Letting hospitals earn more revenue is good for the NHS". The Times. 29 December 2011. 
  11. ^ "India must not ‘overmedicalise’ its universal health coverage model". The Financial Express. 8 March 2012. 
  12. ^ "Qatar’s insurance scheme ‘can cut healthcare costs’". The Gulf Times. 12 May 2012. 
  13. ^ "Our board of trustees and patrons". The Prostate Cancer Chairity website. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  14. ^ Article from Nursing Times online re Mark Britnell
  15. ^ The Observer, 15 May 2011, "David Cameron's adviser says health reform is a chance to make big profits"
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Britnell responds to 'privatisation' storm"
  18. ^ The Guardian Health Network, 30 March 2012, "A Day in the life of Mark Britnell"

External links[edit]