Dr Chai Patel is the chief executive officer and managing director of Westminster Healthcare plc, Britain's third largest nursing home company, which he took control of in a £214 million deal in 1998. He gave more than £5,000 to the Labour Party in 1999. He was ranked as the 8th most important person in the health sector by the Guardian in 2000. He is a member of the Better Regulation Task Force.
Patel was formerly the chief executive of Care First plc, also one of the largest operators of private nursing homes in the UK. In October 1999 he bought the Priory Hospital Group, 13 acute psychiatric hospitals, for £100 million. He waschair of the Better Regulation Task Force's Working Group on Long Term Care and a member of the Department of Health's 'action team' on NHS bed use which recommended that the NHS should place older patients into private nursing homes.
Westminster Healthcare is made up of Westminster Senior Living (nursing homes and retirement housing), Priory Healthcare (the psychiatric hospitals of the Priory Hospital Group including medium secure units) and Westminster Diagnostics (diagnostic imaging, including MRI, CT scannning and ultrasound).
In 2006, the Labour Party revealed they had received £1.5million from Patel in secret donations. The move towards transparency came from a combination of pressure from the other parties and plans to introduce a new law banning secret loans to parties.
Along with fellow 'secret donors', Sir Gulam Noon, Barry Townsley and Sir David Garrard, Patel was nominated for a peerage. The House of Lords Appointments Commission voiced concern over this issue.
- Institute for Public Policy Research, Secretary.
- BBC News, Labour reveals secret loans list, 20 March 2006, accessed 13 February 2015