[Wednesday 24 August]
Jeremy Corbyn’s speech about the NHS was dogged by distraction prompted by Virgin Rail. But he did make the point that the next Labour government would “end privatisation” and make the NHS fully publicly funded and bring services provided privately “back into public hands”. Keep Our NHS Public has been calling for this since we were founded in 2005 and it is encouraging to hear a prospective Labour Prime Minister say that this is his party’s ambition. But by then it will be too late.
A&E closures, STPs and more “austerity” cuts are being driven through – with mercurial speed and Machiavellian secrecy – NOW throughout England. By 2020 there will be very little NHS left to save or restore.
Labour activists need to build or join local campaigns to defend access to A&E, hospitals and services in the teeth of the cuts being driven through at speed by NHS England. If they wait for Labour to be back in power, to borrow a rail analogy, they will find that entire trains on the NHS service have been cut and even longer delays are commonplace.
Dr John Lister, health researcher and Secretary of Keep Our NHS Public, said:
“The key thing at local level is that the large numbers of new Labour Party members, many of whom will be Corbyn supporters, need to be encouraged to join with and build local campaigns. By 2020 it will all be over.”
Dr Jacky Davis, consultant radiologist and member of Keep Our NHS Public’s national executive, added:
“We would of course welcome the ending of private provision and PFI, which Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to do, but the damage already done is crippling: millions spent on PFI projects, billions to be paid off, and countless sums wasted on the NHS ‘market’ to name a few things. The longer this is left the deeper the damage, and there is a limit to how much can disappear before it becomes next to impossible to restore it. This is happening now; people need to act now. Join their local campaigns. Stop this where they can already.”
Keep Our NHS Public was formed in 2005 and has a broad-based, public membership. There are 38 local groups, plus a national association. It has the explicit aim of countering marketisation [1,2] and privatisation of the NHS by campaigning for a publicly funded, publicly provided and publicly accountable NHS, available to all on the basis of clinical need. It is opposed to cuts in service which run counter to these principles. Further details: www.keepournhspublic.com
KONP’s Campaigns and Press Officer is Alan Taman:
07870 757 309
 Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigely, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press.
Leys, C. and Player, S. (2011) The Plot Against the NHS. Pontypool: Merlin
Lister, J. (2008) The NHS After 60: For Patients or Profits? London: Middlesex University Press
Owen, D. (2014) The Health of the Nation: The NHS in Peril. York: Methuen, Chapter 4.
Player, S. (2013) ‘Ready for market’. In NHS SOS ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. London: Oneworld, pp.38-61.
 The belief that ‘competition is always best’ does not work when applied to healthcare. A comprehensive and universal health service is best funded by public donation, which has been shown to be far more efficient overall than private-insurance healthcare models
[Davis, J., Lister, J. and Wrigley, D. (2015) NHS For Sale. London: Merlin Press. Chapters 2 and 8.
Lister, J. (2013) Health Policy Reform: global health versus private profit. Libri: Faringdon.
Pollock, A. and Price, D. (2013) In NHS SOS, ed by Davis, J. and Tallis, R. Oneworld: London, 174.]