NHS England has said that one of its new directors will be subject to ‘clear safeguards’ to ensure his business interests do not conflict with his national role.

Arvind Madan, currently a GP and chief executive at London’s Hurley Group, a large chain of GP practices, was earlier this month appointed as the national body’s director for primary care.

Dr Madan will lead on primary care commissioning, including work on reform and modernisation of the primary care provider model, and developing co-commissioning with clinical commissioning groups.

HSJ readers raised concerns that his separate role as chief executive of Hurley Innovations, a company which owns and markets WebGP, an online primary care platform, represented a conflict of interest. Dr Madan is also understood to have a stake in the company.

NHS England, responding to the comments, stated: “Dr Madan will stand down from his management role at Hurley group, will play no part in any relevant procurement decisions, and will be subject to clear safeguards on conflicts overseen by the board of NHS England, which will all be put in place well before he takes up post later this year.” He is also stepping down from his Hurley Innovations role.

However, the organisation refused to comment on whether Dr Madan was divesting shares in the company.

Harry Longman, chief executive of GP Access, a company which provides software and services to GP practices, told HSJ: “As well as being a partner in Hurley Group, Dr Madan is the chief executive and major shareholder in Hurley Innovations.

“NHS England wants Dr Madan to talk about getting patients interacting online. As the market leader [with WebGP] he doesn’t have to mention the name of his product, but simply by talking about it he increases his share price.

“It’s crucial for the future of primary care that these kinds of online innovations are evaluated on the basis of evidence alone and avoid any perception of conflicts of interest.”

At the time of publication, Companies House records show that Dr Madan is a director of seven companies besides Hurley Innovations. These included Hurley Solutions, Hurley Assets and De Montfort Asset Management.