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The National Health Action Party was set up by health professionals who believe that a political party is needed to defend the NHS and its values.

In their view, “the NHS marks out a space in society where the dictates of commerce and the market should be held in check”. They are campaigning to ensure that patients not profits that are the driving force behind our NHS.

dr clive peedellDr Clive Peedell, in the co-leader’s new year message, focussed on devolution ‘sold as a democratic step forward, with more local accountability’. The reality, he believes, will be a deeply centralised government controlling the decision making whilst local councils will have to increase local taxes to make up funding shortfalls.

A link to Dr Louise Irvine’s response to the Cameron NHS policies is well worth opening and Dr Peedell has looked at the wider picture, seeing a comprehensive attack on the social determinants of health: employment, income, home, social care and education:

  • Council housing looks set to be cleared away completely from high property value areas, social tenancies time limited, social tenants earning modest family incomes charged market rents.
  • The right to buy will be acquired by tenants of Registered Social Landlords, so more genuinely affordable homes will be lost.
  • Public land and assets will be sold for more house building – for sale, not affordable rent.
  • Workers’ rights are under attack in the Trade Union Bill. DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) lobbied to have information published concerning benefit sanction related deaths.
  • The education system, like the NHS, has also been subject to systematic dismantling and privatisation of ownership and delivery of services.
  • Public health budgets have been slashed.
  • The rights of disabled people have been systematically violated; this, combined with other social issues, have led to a high-level inquiry by a United Nations committee

“The election of a Tory government in May brought tears and they have confirmed our worst fears. With a slim majority and less than a quarter of the eligible vote the government has set about ‘transformation at scale and pace’, which in plain English means changing everything so fast it will be very hard to stop. Its policy on the NHS focuses on the ’24/7 NHS manifesto mandate’ which it claims it has from the electorate and which will be used to drive forward the privatisation agenda, including de-skilling staff and closing more A&Es. The junior doctors’ contract and the removal of student nurse bursaries are part of this process”.

Dr Peedell then stressed that all these developments underline the importance of standing candidates at the 2016 local elections.