A new party, co-founded by two doctors – former MP Richard Taylor and oncologist Dr Clive Peedell – with virtually no public awareness, no media coverage, and no money, resources or local party infrastructure, gained quite a good result in the recent elections.
The National Health Action Party (NHAP) – set up to defend the NHS and its values – polled 23,253 votes, coming 9th out of 17 parties in a very crowded field in London’s Euro election. Local election candidates around the country on average polled 20% more than the Lib Dems, 50% more than the Greens and took almost 20% of the Labour vote, gaining an average of 6% of the total vote.
NHAP condemns this government’s ‘clear agenda to increasingly privatise and commercialise the NHS’.
Promoting this agenda, they write, the BBC and the Daily Telegraph revealed their allegiance today with ‘sickening’ headlines about the sad death of a baby from a contaminated drip.
Though the food was manufactured and supplied by ITH Pharma Limited, a private pharmaceutical company, the Telegraph used this distressing story as an excuse to attack the NHS, with its headline: “15 babies poisoned by NHS drips”. This afternoon the BBC website declared: “Three new baby NHS poisoning cases”.
After a storm of protest on twitter, both organisations changed their headlines. NHAP co-leader, Dr Clive Peedell, is making formal complaints to both the Press Complaints Commission and the BBC.
Two months ago, it was also revealed that the private healthcare firm Bupa was bribing their patients to use NHS services in order to maximise the company’s profit. Yet this scandal received only limited attention in our partisan media.
NHAP is thinking seriously about the most effective way to make more people aware they exist and to build on this positive start in the recent elections. They hope to ensure that the tens of thousands of Londoners who have publicly declared they are seriously concerned about running down and selling off the NHS grows to hundreds of thousands and then millions around the country.