David Cameron asked for access to the personal data of NHS staff at the height of the Covid outbreak last year, according to an email.

The former Tory Prime Minister said a payment scheme run by Greensill Capital, which employed him as an adviser, would “help all NHS employees’ welfare, morale and wellbeing”.

He sent an email last April to Matthew Gould, head of the health service’s digital arm NHSX, revealing he had “an ask”.

Mr Cameron added that a Greensill app called Earnd, which the firm wanted health staff to take up, would be “much slicker if it can obtain access to employee data in ESR [Electronic Staff Record]”.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves
Rachel Reeves said 'Tory sleaze is back'

He also said: “I think some help from you would go a long way.”

Earnd was set up to pay staff daily advances on their salaries, and Mr Cameron told Mr Gould that Health Secretary Matt Hancock was “extremely positive” about the plan.

ESR, which is a human resources and payroll database system, reportedly holds information on 1.4 million NHS workers.

Mr Cameron’s email, seen by the Sunday Times, added: “Greensill have launched a digital solution [Earnd] which helps with one of your key priorities: helping all NHS employees’ welfare, morale, and wellbeing.

"This is an app that allows NHS employees to draw their salary earned, not yet paid, in real time using a simple app.”

David Cameron
More pressure is being piled on the former PM

Granting Greensill access to data would speed up the process, he said.

He ended the email to his ex-colleague by saying: “Once this is all over, it would be great to see you again? Maybe for lunch? Let’s stay in touch!”

Mr Gould replied: “We will certainly look into the ESR question.”

Earnd entered into a contract with ESR to supply software that would access personal details of NHS staff to allow claims for early payment to be verified, the newspaper said.

The revelations pile fresh pressure on the former PM over his relationship with Greensill boss Lex Greensill, who was brought into the Government during Mr Cameron’s premiership.

David Cameron asked for access to the personal data of NHS staff at the height of the Covid outbreak last year (stock image)
David Cameron asked for access to the personal data of NHS staff at the height of the Covid outbreak last year (stock image)

A spokesman for Mr Cameron said: “These discussions were about the mechanics to ensure Earnd was delivered for NHS workers in a smooth and efficient way.”

NHSX told the paper: “Greensill was one of many fintech firms which approached NHSX to discuss their products, as part of our ‘innovation surgery’, but we did not enter into any contract or partnership with them.”

NHS England said “experts scrutinised [Greensill’s] proposals but decided not to go along with them”.

The Greensill affair could trigger an overhaul of lobbying rules. Seven probes are under way or are planned.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves said: “What we’ve seen this week is that Tory sleaze is back and that it is bigger than ever.

“We need real change to restore trust in our democracy and in the very essence of public service which matters to so many of us...

“Having failed to deflect the blame, the Government’s latest approach appears to be to shrug their shoulders and say, ‘Scandal? What scandal?’.”

Finance company Greensill went into administration last month.