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Read Keep Our NHS Public’s post-election statement on Labour’s win and the new challenges faced by NHS campaigners.

After an uninspiring six-week-long election campaign we now know that Labour will form the next government.

Following fourteen years of punishing Conservative rule, and with a sizeable parliamentary majority, it is time for Labour to repay the electorate with a real commitment to improve people’s lives. 

Expectations are high, especially for those who have been directly impacted by the NHS crisis, not least the families of those who have lost relatives unnecessarily, waiting for ambulances or languishing on the 7.5 million-long NHS waiting lists. The NHS must be set back on its feet once more.  

For this to happen, health services must be restored in line with the founding principles of the NHS and social care needs radical transformation. However, it is of great concern that this does not appear to be the vision for the NHS put forward by Starmer and Streeting throughout the election, and we call on the new Labour Government to declare an immediate national emergency in health and care, as have the BMA and the RCN.

We also note that some independent candidates have won seats advocating for a fully public NHS, a fact which vindicates our belief that NHS privatisation is a key concern for many voters. This includes Jeremy Corbyn, one of KONP’s national patrons.

The Greens now have 4 seats and call for the largest increase in NHS funding. The Lib Dems with over 70 seats are calling for an emergency budget for health and care.

Today marks the 76th anniversary of the historic creation of the NHS on 5th July 1948. Labour should reflect on the ambition and boldness of the 1945 Attlee government, undeterred by record debt and the ravages of war. Now, just as then, a strong health service is a prerequisite for social and economic recovery – if we allow our NHS to fail, the economy will fail with it

If Labour’s overworked slogan of unspecified ‘Change’ is to have any meaning, it must encompass a move away from neoliberal orthodoxy. In its place must come investment in public services, promotion of social justice, poverty reduction, wealth redistribution, care for the environment and a focus across government departments on reducing health inequalities. 

The Conservative party is being pushed further to the right by loss of power and the growth of Reform. The stakes are high and there is an urgent need for ‘deeds, not words’ if, as Keir Starmer has recognised, the alarming rise in the populist right taking place in France is to be halted in Britain. 

Delivering on health care is a good place to start, and it is an urgent priority to fully invest in the NHS, including committing to full pay restoration for NHS staff.

Much more is demanded of Labour than relying on tinkering reforms and tired old claims that shifting care into the community, preventing illness and greater reliance on technology will, in the absence of funding, deliver a rapid transformation. 

We hope our constructive comments on these lacklustre manifesto promises will be listened to. For those who still persist in claiming that the NHS is a bottomless pit and needs reform not more funding, we remind them that under the Blair-Brown government NHS performance was improved by investing in staff and increased funding , allowing the NHS to be one of the best services in the world

Since then growing demand and damaging  austerity policies have seen an cumulative funding gap over 10 years of £362 bn deficit. To match per capita spending on health by comparable European neighbours we need around £40bn more each year. Lack of capital investment has resulted in crumbling estate and outdated equipment, which together with staff shortages drive inefficiency, lack of productivity and poorer outcomes. 

However, as we have previously emphasised, it is not just money that is needed but also a change in how politicians see the NHS and an end to the policy that invites profit-taking private healthcare to come in and undermine the NHS. 

To achieve effectiveness, equity and resilience we need to build consensus on the essential good of a fully public and universal NHS based on values of the right to healthcare, security, justice and compassion. Myths of un-affordability and the efficiency of privatised services need to be dispelled and the vital role of public health reaffirmed.

Policies must be based on an understanding of evidence of the level and nature of health needs. Health and care services should be seen as an asset and not a drain on resources. This is the only way to bring about real ‘change’.

Let this NHS anniversary and this new Government be an opportunity to restore a truly ‘People’s NHS’ as its founders in the Labour Government in 1948 intended. 

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  1. My understanding is that over 50% of NHS funding goes to contracted in services of many many kinds, and the bureaucracy needed to manage the contracts is a further big drain. Make it 100% public again and we will save money and improve service – even before we add further much needed funds

  2. I agree with Paul Ernest. Contracting in private services is a. Gross waste of money. Now is the time to return the NHS to a publicly funded body, at the same time improving the health of the whole population, especially thos who have been on starvation rations since the Tories came to power, leading to burgeoning numbers in poor health. Many of the costly outsourced contracts need to be eliminates asap, NHS staff must be paid properly and the integrated care systems dismantled as 42 extra bureaucracies across England is another gross waste of NHS funding. The NHS also needs to be purges of excessive bureaucracy and excessive management structures across the board.

  3. Agreed we have got to watch them and I definately oppose contracting out of the NHS .Contractors is another risk factor to patients and service users . We certainly don’t want a return to liability of the PFI system of Tony Blair enormous sums of money from Intergrated care Boards are waisted still on private finance initiatives . In some hospital trusts and an end to trusts constantly in business continuity .Managers could be cut or redeployed . There are too many in administration particularly

  4. My understanding is that the NHS is – or was – the most efficient health service in the world, through avoiding the bureacracy involved in insurance based systems, and I am not sure this point gets made often enough. Is this one of the reasons that the myths about bottomless pits and inefficiency are given so much weight.

  5. I deplore these private contractors making millions out of OUR NHS. The thought of more privateers leaching onto the tax payer at the expense of the NHS make my blood boil.

  6. Too many Mp’s from all parties and members of the House of Lords have a financial interest in private healthcare. They should declare this publicly and not be allowed to vote, or debate on anything connected to “OUR NHS”.

    Private healthcare is only good for the Very, very rich, the very healthy at the moment and those who have a financial interest in private healthcare.

    We are the 6th richest country in the world we can afford a public NHS. Poland is about the 20th richest country. They are seen scanned tested and treated without a waiting list. “OUR NHS” was set up after the war when we were bankrupt as a nation, owing a huge war debt to the USA. If we could afford it then, we can now. It should be our nations priority, as without good health we have nothing.

  7. Labour is in, torys are oit our work begins anew to uphold nye Bevans view. Who to trust? Nobody in power unkess we exercise ours and insistbour NHS be taken care…i do not trust Starmer to do it so we must…fight for Nye Bevans NHS to be reinstated…

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