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MP queries possible conflict of interest over ex PwC partner watchdog role

A FORMER PWC partner and past president of the ICAEW who now chairs the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has become embroiled in a row over a possible conflict of interest.

PwC, where Peter Wyman spent over 40 years, is also the internal auditor of the health watchdog. Wyman left the Big Four firm in 2011, well beyond the required limit needed to comply with conflict of intererst guidelines.

Wyman’s role – an element of which is to manage potential conflicts of interest – could be compromised, an MP on the Commons Health Select Committee has claimed, The Independent reports.

Paula Sherriff, a committee member and former NHS worker, said: “It looks like the government have picked a candidate for their experience in wielding the axe, not the scalpel.

“It also raises the issue of potential conflicts of interest, not just political but financial as well. PwC, where he was a partner for many years, is paid by the CQC as their auditor – ironically they even wrote the policy on conflicts of interests. And they also work for some of the companies that the CQC is meant to regulate.

“I’ve seen for myself when working for a private company delivering public healthcare how the profit motive trumps the patient interest, and unfortunately the so-called safeguards are far too flimsy to prevent it. The revolving door between private and public sectors leaves people wondering whether decisions are made in the interests of patients or profits.”

Wyman – also chair of the audit committee at Companies House – is currently chair of Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, apposition he has held for the past five years.

The Commons Health Select Committee approved his appointment, made by Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, on the proviso that he spend time with patients and frontline staff.

Wyman’s appointment was made in accordance with the relevant code of practice and endorsed by the Health Select Committee at a pre-appointment hearing on 1 December, a health spokeswoman told the paper.

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