Mark Douglas Britnell (born 5 January 1966) is Chairman and Senior Partner for the Global Health Practice of the professional services firm KPMG. He was previously Director-General for Commissioning and System Management for the English National Health Service (NHS) (July 2007–September 2009), as well as Chief Executive of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and the South Central Strategic Health Authority.
His early career included various management posts in the NHS, a spell with the Australian health service, a year in the civil service fast stream during which he was sponsored by the Australian College of Health Service Executives to work in Melbourne and Sydney before being seconded to the NHS Executive 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 an Ambulatory Care and Diagnostic (ACAD) Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme - the first of its kind in the UK.
At 34 years of age, he became Chief Executive at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, one of the youngest people to be appointed to a Chief Executive role in the NHS. He led the organization from 2000 to 2006, taking it through first-wave NHS Foundation Trust status, securing the second largest PFI hospital build in England to date and establishing the first Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in partnership with the Ministry of Defence.
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). During this time he oversaw the development of the World Class Commissioning policy, the creation of the Cooperation and Competition Panel and reforms to primary care, patient and public engagement, integrated care and community services.
In 2009 he joined KPMG as Head of Health for the UK and Europe, becoming Global Chairman for Health in 2010. Since then, he claims to have worked in 60 countries on more than 200 occasions. In October 2015 he will publish 'In Search of the Perfect Health System' - a commentary on 25 different national health systems around the world.
Common subjects he speaks and writes on include health service integration, workforce redesign, patient empowerment and achieving large-scale change in healthcare organizations and systems. He has described his consulting style as "more brown mud, less blue sky".
Honors and appointments
In October 2014 Britnell was appointed a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Future of the Health Sector.
He is a Senior Associate at the King's Fund and Senior Fellow in Health Services Management at the University of Birmingham. He holds honorary degrees from Birmingham City University and University of Wolverhampton, and an honorary professorship at Taishan Medical University School in China. He also sits on the Advisory Board of the China Center for Health Development at Peking University.
He is a Trustee of the cancer charity Prostate Cancer UK, having been diagnosed and successfully treated for the disease in 2008.
NHS competition controversy
In 2010, while discussing British health reforms at a healthcare industry conference in the USA, Britnell 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."
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". Commenting on the UK health service in an article 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."
- In Search of the Perfect Health System, Palgrave 2015 ISBN 978-1-137-49661-4
- Britnell profile in The Guardian
- Britnell biodata at the UK Department of Health
- Britnell profile in The Guardian
- We Must Sell Healthcare to the Whole World, Mark Britnell, The Times, 23 January 2013
- "Director General for Commissioning & System Management at the Department of Health". The Kings Fund. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- "European Health Summit 2013: What is the future for primary care in Europe?" (PDF). Nuffield Trust. 27 January 2013.
- Mark Britnell, Patrick Butler, The Guardian, 19 September 2001
- Mark Britnell rules himself out of NHS England Chief race, Dave West, Health Service Journal, 17 October 2013
- Vize, Richard (2009-06-11). "Mark Britnell quits NHS for private sector". Health Service Journal. Retrieved 8 January 2010.
- In Search of the Perfect Health System: Palgrave.co.uk
- About Mark Britnell, Economist Intelligence Unit
- Mark Britnell invited to joing WEF Global Agenda Council, KPMG, 6 October 2014
- About Mark Britnell, KPMG
- Debrett's: Mark Britnell Debretts.com
- The Observer, 15 May 2011, "David Cameron's adviser says health reform is a chance to make big profits"
- "Britnell responds to 'privatisation' storm"
- The Guardian Health Network, 30 March 2012, "A Day in the life of Mark Britnell"