Keep Our NHS Public has produced a downloadable Hustings Guide to help supporters of the NHS to ask the right questions at hustings and campaigns events across the country. All politicians of all parties should be questioned properly – the NHS is in an existential crisis and needs a real, determined rescue package. We are producing lists of questions we believe should be put to the Prospective Parliamentary Candidates of various political parties, as well as some general NHS questions that could be put to any candidate.
In the third instalment of our hustings guide, (read the Liberal Democrat and Conservative parliamentary candidate hustings guides) here are our questions to parliamentary candidates (including incumbent MPs) standing for the Labour Party:
1. Will you sign our pledge to protect the NHS from privatisation?
Why we ask: So far a number of Labour ministers and MPs have signed our pledge to protect the NHS from privatisation, but we need to know that all parliamentary candidates are on board. All Labour MPs must be fully on board with restoring the NHS to public ownership and protecting it from future trade deals.
You can print off a selfie placard from our pledge page.
2. What will Labour do to improve the inequalities in mental health?
Why we ask: We are in the midst of a mental health crisis, yet the NHS spent £181 million last year on paying private firms to care for people with serious mental illnesses. This means many mental health beds are in private hospitals. Will Labour look at renationalising those hospitals?
3. How will the proposed funding increases for the NHS budget (£26bn) and social care services (£10.8bn) be made to be sustainable long-term?
Why we ask: The Conservative Party claim they will give the NHS “biggest cash boost in history”, but it’s figures aren’t adjusted for inflation which is deliberately misleading. In the last election Corbyn and Labour were criticised for promising a ‘magic money tree’. Now is the time for them to defend their figures.
4. What would "ending privatisation in the NHS" mean for GPs, Macmillan nurses, community pharmacists and hospital cleaners?
Why we ask: While privatisation of the NHS has been a hot topic this election, with a lot of focus on what that could mean for funding and trade agreements. But what about staff? We need to make sure that ending privatisation also means better and clearer employment conditions for all of its staff, and the best way of doing this is making a nationalised NHS their employer.
5. How are the improvements Labour is promising the NHS going to be delivered with a 100,000 staffing blackhole?
Why we ask: There are over 40,000 nurse vacancies and 10,000 doctor vacancies in the NHS, and these shortages are only set to worsen in coming years as large numbers of staff are due to retire in the next ten years. It’s all very well pledging extra beds and facilities, but what if there are no staff to care for patients? Labour has pledged to reintroduce the nursing bursary but there are still shortages forecast for GPs and other specialisms.