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Thursday, 16 April 2015

NHAP launch manifesto for a strong NHS

The National Health Action Party launched its  election manifesto today, on the day that the ex-NHS boss warned that all parties were ignoring the funding crisis and the NHS was heading for substantial problems. Launching the manifesto and releasing a party election video, NHA co-leader Dr Clive Peedell said his party is the only party fully addressing the £30bilion NHS funding gap and the underlying problems facing the NHS: "We're the only party that is serious about fixing our NHS. We're the only party you can trust to do the job. The NHS has always been there to fix us when we're ill. Now it needs us to restore it to health."

"We're the only party that is talking about an immediate cash injection for the NHS; not in 2 years or by the end of the parliament but right now. We are the only party that is prepared to back up its pledges with a real commitment."

In a thinly veiled attack on the Tory mantra of a strong NHS relying on a strong economy, Dr Peedell said: "We need a strong NHS for a strong economy. The NHS is not a drag on the economy. Investing in healthcare stimulates economic growth and keeps the workforce healthy, while austerity increases the need for health services and drags down our NHS. The NHS isn't unsustainable or unaffordable. It's under-funded. We spend the least of all G7 nations on health."

The NHA Party, was launched in 2012 by doctors, nurses, paramedi​​cs​, NHS ​staff and ordinary members of the public in opposition to the coalition's top-down NHS reorganisation, recently condemned by a leading health think-tank as "damaging and distracting” and even dismissed by Tory insiders as "unintelligible gobbledygook."

The Party has decided to field just a dozen candidates at the general election, preferring quality over quantity. Its candidate include co-leader ​and cancer specialist, Dr Peedell ​challenging David Cameron​ in Witney and ​GP​ Dr Louise Irvine, chair of the ​ successful​ Save Lewisham campaign, taking on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in South West Surrey. She’s being backed by Brian May and his Common Decency campaign – and is currently second favourite to win the seat, far ahead of the other main parties.

Dr Peedell went to say the NHA Party is more than just about the NHS: "We're fighting for a healthy NHS that puts patients before profits. We're fighting for a properly funded NHS that helps you and your family when you're at your most vulnerable. But we’re also fighting for a healthy Britain and healthy society‎. That means a fair economy, an end to austerity and a parliament that works for people not politicians."

He called on the public to vote not just for the NHS but for the sort of society they want to live in: "The way a society delivers its healthcare reflects the values and nature of that society and the people who live in it. The way our political leaders are behaving, fawning to the nasty voices in our society, is moving us towards a society based on fear and self-interest. We don't believe the majority of the British people want this sort of society. We hope you will join us in pushing for a society based on fairness, equality of opportunity and compassion."

And he said the NHA Party could play a crucial part in coalition government: "The prospect of a hung Parliament could put MPs who are independent of the main parties in a very powerful position whoever forms the next government. Even just a couple of NHA MPs could make a huge difference, standing up for our NHS. Health is the top election issue. Voters should use the ballot box to send a clear message - stop running down and selling off our NHS."

Dr Peedell added: "As we are only fielding a small number of candidates, we aren’t entitled to a party election broadcast. So we hope voters will watch our election video instead."