By Tim Hardy
Looks like my idea for people to stand as independent candidates on a pro-NHS bill at the next election may have traction.
Clive Peedell of Bevan’s Run fame has written to colleagues asking for their support. If you wish to sign the letter, email Clive by 5pm today 16/3/12 at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please share this widely.
I am looking for co-signatories to this letter to the Sunday Independent, by close of play this afternoon ie 5pm. I’ve spoken to the senior political correspondent and she will publish letter and also do an article on the letter.
The letter is about forming a group of doctors to take on Liberal Democrat MPs at the next general election.
Signing the letter does NOT oblige you to run for Parliament. It is a letter of support and a rallying letter.
We can sort out more detailed tactics at a later date.
The key is to get as many names as we can on the letter to put the wind up the Liberal Democrats prior to next week.
Please add name, address and position.
We believe that the Parliamentary passage of the Health and Social Care Bill has been an embarrassment to our democracy.
Experts in health policy and public, commercial and constitutional law have published evidence in leading peer reviewed medical journals explaining how the Health and Social Care Bill (despite the most recent amendments) will lead to the abolition of the NHS in England. The bill will facilitate the transition from a single payer tax funded system to a mixed funding system, with increasing privatisation of the provision and commissioning of healthcare inEngland. These drastic changes fundamentally undermine the founding principles of the NHS and have no democratic mandate from the electorate and were not part of the coalition agreement.
As healthcare professionals, we are appalled that the coalition Government has imposed many of the changes before the bill has even been enacted and then tried to use this as “evidence” that the professions support their reform. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Government has systematically failed to make the case for such radical change to the NHS, which has recently been shown to be one of the most cost effective and highly performing healthcare systems in the world, enjoying its highest ever public satisfaction rates. None of the major healthcare representative organisations and professional associations supports the reforms, and the majority of them would like to see the bill withdrawn. From the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to the British Geriatrics Society, healthcare professionals agree that the reforms will damage and fragment the NHS, widen healthcare inequalities, and worsen patient care in England.
Despite such widespread professional concern and opposition to this hopelessly complex, flawed and potentially dangerous legislation, the coalition government has repeatedly blocked the publication of the NHS risk register and continues to push ahead with the bill, which is likely to be granted Royal Ascent on Tuesday 20th March. It is our view that coalition MPs and Peers have placed the political survival of the coalition Government above professional opinion, patient safety, and the will of the citizens of this country.
The leadership of the Liberal Democrats have ignored the democratic view of their Spring Conference and continue to support a bill, which betrays their proud heritage of Beveridge’s vision of the Welfare State and the NHS. They have colluded with their Conservative coalition partners and utilised all the political dark arts of obfuscation, deceit, and media manipulation to confuse and conceal the bill’s underlying objectives, in order to force the bill through. Liberal Democrat peers have even gone as far as voting against their own amendments.
We are shocked by the failure of the democratic process and the facilitating role played by the Liberal Democrats in the passage of this bill. We have therefore decided to form a coalition of healthcare professionals to take on Liberal Democrat MPs at the next General election, on the non-party independent ticket of defending the NHS and acting in the public interest.
Dr Clive Peedell co-chair NHSCA
Dr John Ashton
Dr Jacky Davis co-chair NHSCA