Image: National Health Action Party
The London doctor who Chaired the successful campaign against Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to save Lewisham Hospital is to stand in the euro elections.
Lewisham GP Dr Louise Irvine has announced she'll be running as a euro candidate in London for the National Health Action Party, a new political party which opposes the government's cuts and privatisation of the NHS.
Dr Irvine, the chair of Save Lewisham A&E, has been a London GP for 20 years.
Dr Irvine helped lead the successful Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign, but said she was standing because she knew that “defending NHS services cannot stop at the local level - it has to be tackled at the national and European level.”
As politicians and business leaders hold secretive trade talks in the Swiss resort of Davos this week, Irvine also highlighted the threat to the NHS from the impending EU-US trade deal, which she said would “allow American companies to carve up the NHS and make the privatisation process irreversible.”
Irvine called on Londoners to use the election to send a powerful message to politicians in Westminster and Brussels “that people will not stand by and let their NHS be destroyed” and to stop the hospital closures and privatisations.
“Today's news that waiting times are on the rise is further confirmation of the government's failed health policy.”
“I am standing because I care passionately about defending the NHS. If elected, I will strive to ensure that EU regulations don’t adversely affect the NHS and are always in the best interests of the health of British people“.
Dr Irvine has also been vocal in the campaign to oppose Clause 118 of the Care Bill, which the government is attempting to push through parliament to allow fast-track hospital closures with minimal local consultation.
The National Health Action Party was launched by doctors and health care workers just over a year ago amid warnings of the disastrous impact of the government's NHS reforms.
Co-leader of the National Health Action Party, oncologist Dr Clive Peedell, said:
"The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats outrageously broke their pre-election pledges that there would be no top down re-organisation of the NHS and no NHS privatisation.”
Adding that the Labour Party had been too ‘complicit’ in the threats of commercialisation and privatisation that the NHS now faced, Peedell, who is also co-Chair of the NHS Consultants Association, said “We believe that a new political party is needed to defend the NHS and its values, and that is why we set up the National Health Action Party.”
The co-leader of the National Health
Action Party is the former independent MP for Wyre Forest, Dr Richard Taylor,
who won a seat in two successive general elections over a local hospital issue.
“It is crucial that the people of London support Dr Louise Irvine and the National Health Action Party in these elections. A strong electoral result will put pressure on the Government to reverse its damaging reforms and exempt the NHS from the EU/US Free Trade Agreement. The very survival of the NHS is at stake.”
The Euro elections are conducted through proportional representation - meaning less concern about splitting votes - and Dr Irvine will need about 200,000 votes across London to be elected.