Election 2015: NHA Party ‘serious about fixing the NHS’ on BBC website:
Prescription charges would be phased out and income tax would rise by 1p to boost NHS funding by £4.5bn a year, under plans unveiled by the National Health Action Party.
Launching its manifesto, the NHA Party would also “end austerity” and oppose “privatisation” of the NHS in England.
Founded by doctors, nurses and paramedics, the party says it is the only one serious about fixing the NHS.
The party is fielding candidates in 12 English parliamentary constituencies.
These include party founder and co-leader Dr Clive Peedell, a consultant cancer specialist who is challenging David Cameron in his Witney constituency.
Other candidates include Dr Richard Taylor, a former independent MP who won the Wyre Forest seat in the 2001 and 2005 elections on a promise to save his local hospital from closure.
Launching the NHA Party’s manifesto, Dr Peedell said his party was the only one “fully addressing” the £30bn NHS funding gap and the underlying problems facing the health service.
And with the prospect of a hung Parliament, “even just a couple of NHA MPs could make a huge difference,” he said.
“We’re the only party that is serious about fixing our NHS,” he said. “We’re the only party you can trust to do the job.
“The NHS has always been there to fix us when we’re ill. Now it needs us to restore it to health.
Policy guide: Health and care
This issue includes NHS funding, GP access and social care, particularly of older people.
“We’re the only party that is talking about an immediate cash injection for the NHS; not in two years or by the end of the parliament, but right now. We are the only party that is prepared to back up its pledges with a real commitment.”
The NHA Party’s 47-page election manifesto sets out its main policy pledges, which include:
- A 1p rise in basic rate of income tax to raise around £4.5bn a year followed by NHS funding to meet the £30bn funding gap by 2020
- Phasing out of existing prescription charges
- Repeal of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act
- A pledge to keep local hospital, A&E and maternity units open unless there is “overwhelming” evidence for reorganisation of services
- Introducing minimum unit pricing for alcohol
- Stricter controls and taxes if needed on tobacco, alcohol, sugar and unhealthy foods
- Reforming the House of Lords
- Lowering the voting age to 16
- Ending austerity and investment in public services
- Reinstating the 50p income tax rate for earnings over £150,000
- Abolishing tuition fees
- Scrapping the “bedroom tax”
- Renationalising British Rail
Dr Louise Irvine, a Lewisham GP who is standing against Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in South West Surrey, claimed increased private sector involvement in the NHS was not cost effective.
“Some private provision is fine, but a lot of it is poor quality and isn’t open to the same scrutiny and accountability that the NHS is,” she told BBC Two’s Daily Politics.
The party, which is financed by donations and membership subs, was launched in 2012 in opposition to the coalition’s “top-down NHS reorganisation”. It is not entitled to a party election broadcast, but has an election video instead.
* Election candidates standing in Witney: Colin Bex (Wessex Regionalists); David Cameron (Conservative); Duncan Enright (Labour); Andy Graham (Liberal Democrat); Nathan Handley (Independent); Deek Jackson (Land Party); Stuart Macdonald (Green); Clive Peedell (National Health Action Party); Vivien Saunders (Reduce VAT in Sport); Bobby Smith (Give Me Back Elmo); Simon Strutt (UKIP) and Chris Tompson (Independent).
* Election candidates standing in South West Surrey: Patrick Haveron (Liberal Democrat); Jeremy Hunt (Conservative); Louise Irvine (National Health Action Party); Howard Kaye (Labour); Paul Robinson (Something New); Susan Ryland (Green) and Mark Webber (UKIP).