NHS campaigners launch political party
16 November 2012
Doctors have launched a political party to fight damaging changes to the NHS.
National Health Action is set to challenge the privatisation of the NHS and the fragmentation of care accelerated by the Health and Social Care Act.
It will fight to repeal the act, and campaign to ensure that clinical commissioning groups have the freedom to choose local NHS services.
The party intends to fight for parliamentary seats in up to 50 constituencies, and will also take part in local elections.
It has identified five key MPs whose constituencies it will target, based on their impact on the NHS.
These are prime minister David Cameron, former health secretary Andrew Lansley, current health secretary Jeremy Hunt, chancellor George Osborne and schools minister David Laws.
The party is led by Yorkshire consultant oncologist Clive Peedell, who is a BMA council member, and retired consultant Richard Taylor, who was previously elected independent MP for Wyre Forest after campaigning to protect services at Kidderminster Hospital.
Dr Peedell said he felt proud and privileged to be working in the NHS but was angered and dismayed at what the government was doing to it.
He argued that there was no democratic mandate for the reforms, and said they had been ‘railroaded’ through despite massive professional and public opposition.
The consultant said: ‘The government promised no top-down reorganisation and said there would be no further privatisation of the NHS, but that is precisely what we are seeing at the moment.’
Dr Taylor said even a single MP could make a difference, given the access to ministers and parliamentary questions they could provide.
He insisted: ‘Everybody is fed up with the way politics works at the moment so we’re going to shake that up.’