The NHS doesn’t need Reform UK

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We don’t need the kind of NHS ‘reforms’ currently on offer from the main electoral parties, none of which provide a sustainable solution to the deepening crisis in the National Health Service, but neither does the NHS need Reform UK argues Lucy Nichols.

The Labour Party says we need NHS ‘reform’, but as we’ve argued here, they haven’t committed to proper levels of funding or to rule out increasing involvement from the private sector in our NHS. The Conservative’s record is so bad on the NHS that the best they can offer is a meaningless promise to increase the use of  A.I. 

Keep Our NHS Public has repeatedly made the case that the NHS doesn’t need this kind of ‘reform’ at all, but instead needs a return to founding principles and a truly universal health service.

The other kind of ‘reform’ the NHS absolutely doesn’t need is Nigel Farage’s Reform UK Party.

What does Reform say about the NHS?

Reform UK claims that, like the rest of Britain, the NHS isn’t working properly and only they can fix it. Their manifesto, or ‘Contract’ as they prefer to call it, contains barely half a page on their proposals for the National Health Service.

They claim they will tackle staff retention issues not by improving pay and working conditions, but by getting rid of income tax for NHS workers and giving public funds to private companies to ‘relieve pressure’ on public health providers. They would also reduce tax on private healthcare providers, offer a ‘voucher scheme’ so that people can go private if they’ve waited too long for NHS care.

They repeat the idea that one of the key problems is the top heavy NHS is bureaucracy and will cut back on ‘unnecessary managers’ and ‘waste’, for instance by abolishing NHS Race and Health Observatory.

They also suggest they will spend £17 billion in five years on the NHS, but make the laughable claim they will fund it by cutting government spending by £50 billion, and cutting taxes on almost everything.

The simple truth is, Reform UK does not offer any meaningful policies that will bring about better living and working conditions for people in the UK at all. 

Farage’s posturing over the NHS is a cynical appeal to the justifiable concerns of many people in the UK, and conceals the truth that the only people that would benefit from Reform’s electoral gains will be millionaires like himself. 


In addition to scapegoating migrants and asylum seekers for problems created by the failures of successive Conservative and coalition governments, Reform UK contradict themselves when it comes to migrants working in the NHS.

On one hand, they agree that the NHS workforce is heavily reliant on immigration. Their plan to totally ban non-essential immigration does not apply to people coming to work in healthcare. However, they also believe that any migrant should be made to pay for healthcare, and pledge to end ‘health tourism’, a policy in direct opposition to our own position on ending all migrant charges. 

They are happy to blame migrants for the strain on public services and are bold enough to suggest cutting down on immigration will cut NHS waiting lists – even though at 7.5 million, there are more people waiting for NHS care than there are immigrants in the UK (the net migration figure in 2023 was 685,000 and is smaller than this in 2024).

Debunking the myths

The truth is, immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers do not pose a threat to the NHS. The opposite is true.  Reform UK’s attempts to blame immigrants for the problems in public services is both factually incorrect, and clearly intended to encourage racist ideas as an explanation for all that is wrong with ‘Broken Britain.’

The NHS is in a crisis because of political and ideological choices made by successive governments which have defunded the NHS to fail, not funded it to succeed and allowed the private sector to increasingly undermine services. Keep Our NHS Public demands a full restoration of the people’s NHS, as Nye Bevan envisioned it in 1948. This means a publicly provided NHS open to all who need it, when they need it.

There is no room for racism in the fight for the NHS. Reform UK claims that the NHS is ‘not fit for purpose’, but it is the racist Reform UK that are not fit for office.

Lucy Nichols

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  1. You have zero idea what you’re talking about.
    He doesn’t have an issue with legal immigrants, it’s the illegal immigrants causing strain on the NHS, benefits and housing. It’s pretty simple, more people means more cost and giving out benefits, a home, food to someone who isn’t a legal citizen, should not occur, it’s one of our biggest issues.
    Vote Reform.

    • You have no idea what you’re talking about actually.
      ‘Illegal’ immigration over the last 3yrs has made up approximately 4% of immigrants to the uk. They haven’t been housed so they can’t be a strain on housing. If they were processed quicker by the previous government then if they are legitimate asylum seekers they could contribute to society by working and if not legitimate then they could be sent home. The problem in the uk is the legal immigration numbers which have averaged over 1m people per year. This is purely down to neoliberal policies. Neoliberalism relies on cheap labour through mass immigration. Farage wants an unfettered laissez-faire free market capitalist economy. That’s his MO. How will he manage this without mass immigration?
      He’s a grifter. He’s lying to you.
      The only thing that stops mass immigration is an end to neoliberalism and a more progressive tax system where the wealthiest pay their fair share.

  2. How can you possibly call Reform ‘racist’? Their biggest donor isn’t white, several of their candidates aren’t white and are, in fact, either legal migrants or descendants of legal migrants! Nigel Farage has said repeatedly that we need to stop being placed into groups of colour, race, religion, sexual orientation etc and be seen as humans, judged only for our conduct. Literally the most sensible thing I’ve heard from any political party! It is by dividing us that they control us. Pitting us all against each other, keeping us distracted, while they make huge changes to legislation. It’s OK to just not like him, but it’s not OK to make things up about someone.

  3. “He doesn’t have an issue with legal immigrants, it’s the illegal immigrants causing strain on the NHS, benefits and housing.”

    Ah look there’s the Brexit Party lies again.
    Tell me – HOW does an illegal immigrant get benefits and housing? You do realise that illegal immigrants are trying to stay OFF the radar. As soon as they start claiming benefits and housing, they are no longer off the radar. Additionally the other huge lie that you are telling, courtesy of the Brexit Party – is that they can even claim benefits in the first place. There are official rules in place, they have been in place for decades. If you come to the UK and cannot get a job within 6 months, then you have to leave. You cannot claim benefits.

    Clearly – The BNP / Brexit Party / Reform UK have told you what you want to hear, but you haven’t bothered to actually check if what they have told you, is correct.

    And anonymous? Really? I mean….. tell me you are a racist without telling me….

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