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Doctors launch political party to challenge reforms

Doctors will target 50 seats to push out mainstream MPs

Adrian O'Dowd

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Doctors are today launching a new political party called National Health Action (NHA) and will unveil the “top five” high profile seats that they plan to target at the next general election, hoping party members will become MPs.

The NHA is holding a launch event in London to set out the philosophy of the party, which is designed to protect the NHS because the party believes it is currently being damaged and dismantled by the government’s health reforms.

Formed by a group of healthcare professionals, including hospital doctors, a GP and professors of public health, primary care and paediatric epidemiology, the NHA says it is committed to promoting policies that ensure high quality patient care.

It claims that all three main political parties have betrayed the public’s trust over the NHS because A&E units are being closed or downgraded, some hospitals are on the brink of collapse, services are being broken up, contracts are being given to profit-making corporations and thousands of NHS jobs will be lost by 2015.

The reforms as set out in the Health and Social Care Act represent a top down reorganisation that is undermining the founding principles of the NHS, said the party, and current market-driven health policies are destroying the NHS and placing it at risk.

Prospective parliamentary candidates will stand in up to 50 carefully chosen general election constituencies including five high profile ones and the party will also field candidates in local council elections.

NHA designate executive Dr Louise Irvine, a GP in south-east London, who will be at the launch, said: “The government’s reforms reduce patients’ access to quality health services, turn GPs into healthcare rationers, increase bureaucracy and waste billions of pounds that could instead be used to fund vital health services.”

Party co-leader and cancer specialist Dr Clive Peedell said: “NHA will send a clear message to the public that the NHS will be increasingly dismantled and handed over to the corporate sector unless we fight to maintain it as a public service, dedicated to the public interest.”

Dr Richard Taylor, party co-leader and former independent MP for Wyre Forest, added: “There is a desperate need for doctors, other health professionals and patients, independent of the main political parties, to take a lead in restoring and protecting the original ideals of the NHS.”

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