The Green Party and the NHS

The Green Party was founded in the early 1970s – when Labour was arguably at the height of its power. In fact this year we celebrate our 40th birthday!

The Green Party believes in a nation using the greater portion of its wealth for the benefit of its citizens.  Chief among those benefits is a well-functioning health service.

The Green Party is unswerving in its support for the NHS.

Greens  have  always valued the NHS  –  and a great many other social policies, such as welfare for everyone who needs it, when they need it  –  education for free, for all – and all funded by a fair, progressive  taxation system – within a country which is the 7th largest economy in the world.

In 2010,  ahead of the General Election,  we made a concerted effort to make sure people understood that we are committed to social justice.  We’re famous for environmental justice  –  in fact it’s almost the only thing the media comes to us for! So you’d be forgiven for thinking that’s all we had to say! 

But our slogan that year was “Fair is worth fighting for” …  This may sound familiar to some as another party came up with almost identical words … But we know that an unfair society is an unhealthy one. Literally. There are reports to prove it – as if it weren’t obvious! And this growing inequality within society has been going on for a VERY long time.

So it is with great dismay that the Green Party looks at the health policies of successive governments which have brought us to the severe threat that the NHS faces today  –   as the healthcare that people need is TRADED  for some sort of lowest cost repair bay!

For years, politicians have been actively aping American political society – academy schools, from America, workfare, the Clinton Welfare to Work scheme.   In healthcare, we face an increasing carve-up, with more and more private companies being involved. A “Tesco Basic” healthcare for Joe Public, and a huge ramping up of insurance schemes for anyone who wants or needs a decent level of care, while the NHS itself will continue to be under-funded and cut back .

On Tuesday, we faced the irony of the Health Secretary lecturing nurses on compassion… and promising an Ofsted for hospitals … as if healthcare had nothing to do with the huge shortage of nurses – or the pressure frontline staff are under – or the regular threats to terms, conditions and jobs – which have been part and parcel of the healthcare profession for years… Things are so bad that a group of doctors have set up a Healthcare Party to fight the next General Election!

Healthcare around the country is undergoing severe cuts. Hull faces £100m in cuts and has lost a cardiac ward and a stroke and neurology ward already. With the best will in the world, we cannot describe Hull as one of the healthiest areas of the country…  and to think we have lost two wards, with more wards to be lost – beggars belief! None of these beds are empty!  And so-called community provision doesn’t match hospital care and will only be cut back further.

Then there’s the spectre of the EU-USA Free Trade Agreement. MPs and MEPs are certainly not saying anything about it, but top of the list fopr these high-level policy makers, is the need for the so-called “harmonisation” of health provision between America and the EU member states…

The American system, and its insurance model of health, costs between 50,000 and 100,000 LIVES a year. That’s what we’re facing.

And it’s an uphill struggle… Many politicians, MPs or Lords – across the biggest 3 parties – have a business interest in seeing private healthcare take off.

The choice is to fight, to organise, to lobby, to demonstrate… to make the biggest noise we can…  OR we face losing the greatest gain brought to us by the spirit of 1945 – under far harsher economic conditions than we have now  –  the Jewel in the People’s Crown, that is a world-class, national, health service paid for by all and free to all .

Martin Deane

Hull and East Riding Green Party


NHS cuts in East Yorkshire

As reported to the Save Our NHS Hull and East Yorkshire group.

The acute NHS Trust in Hull and East Yorkshire is faced with £99m cuts between 2012 and 2015. One of the first services to be targeted was Cardiology: Ward 6 at Castle Hill Hospital was closed and the staff re-deployed across the Trust’s hospitals (Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital, Cottingham).
We were informed that these measures would improve the Cardiology services to the public, that it would lead to a more focused provision as the other Cardiology wards were in the same locality at the New Cardiology Build (NCB), Castle Hill Hospital. This has not proved to be the case and we have direct evidence that patients who should receive beds in the NCB are in fact dispersed, being located in the various non-speciality wards across both hospitals. Those unlucky enough to be given a bed on a ward at Hull Royal Infirmary are several miles away from the Cardiology doctors and nurses who are trained to treat them. How can the NHS Trust defend this outcome? The decision was taken without consulting lead medical staff, and the outcomes for patients will presumably be worse. How could it be a better service when medical staff are faced with patients who may or may not have heart failure and they do not have the specialist training to find out or treat them if they do have heart failure? Will the NHS Trust be auditing this? It is the case that failing to treat early stage heart failure during a hospital admission will lead to an increased likelihood that the patient will be re-admitted with crushing heart failure and fluid congestion. This would be avoided – along with the unnecessary suffering for patients and their families, and the increased expense (£20000+ per hospital stay) – if early signs are identified and treated.
Cuts are cuts – ideological in nature because leading economists in the UK have said, and reports have appeared in press including the Daily Telegraph – that they are not actually necessary. The reverse is the case – they are driving us deeper in to recession and poverty. The austerity measures have led to a poorer service for the public in areas where services are already stretched. The austerity cuts are being used, we claim, to run down public services by starving them of funding so that the government can claim that they are failing and need privatising. In the case of schools, they are turned into academies.
We believe that that the government is making irreversible changes to the NHS (and other publically funded services) that are ideological and have nothing to to with creating a better NHS. They believe that there is profit to be made that will eventually lead to an insurance led health service where profit comes first, health a poor second.
We need to join together in our campaign to make the public aware of what is happening to their health service before it is too late.
@saveournhshull Public meeting, Ruscadors, Hull March 27, 7pm.

From Mike Lammiman’s blog –

What sort of Hull do Labour want?

An open letter to Diana Johnson
Dear Diana,
You say “You’ve got to ask, what’s the Government got against Hull?”
Indeed. But I also ask what has the Labour Party got against Hull. The way Labour voted (effectively for the) bedroom tax (and now say they probably won’t repeal it) and for the removal of the right of civil servants to strike was a betrayal of the working class – your core supporters.
Where is the lesser bedroomed social housing for people to move to in Hull; where are the jobs and fair pay to get people out of poverty; how can people declare the dissatisfaction with their terms and conditions of employment if they are denied their basic human right to withdraw their labour (or else be slaves)?
How can anyone live and be healthy in this country when there are no jobs for most people seeking work and unemployment benefit is not enough to live on (especially since your party clearly supports them being placed in further poverty if they live in what the government decides is too big a house).
Why aren’t the Hull 3 supported and encouraged by their Party for having the courage to represent their constituents and try to save their jobs instead of being suspended from the group? What message does that send to voters and anyone who wants to be a part of a democratic society.
Do Labour believe the working class are responsible for the excesses and subsequent collapse of the neo-liberal capitalist system and should be punished financially – and with that their health too. Mental health, alcoholism and other health issues caused by unemployment and all that go will it make it harder for people to be an active, positive part of society and work again).
Why is the Labour Party pandering to right wingers in this country and targeting immigrants as the people to blame for our plight? Is it because Labour wants these reactionaries to vote for them?
Do the negatives I raise above amount to the type of place you want Hull to be? So I ask again – what has the Labour Party got against Hull?
I am also disappointed to have heard first hand at last night’s Save our NHS meeting in Hull last night that Labour MPs have no intension of repealing the Health and Social Care Act. Whilst I welcome your email yesterday stating that you and the Labour Party will try to stop the privatisation hidden within the Act, nothing but the full repeal of the Act, together with the removal of internal markets – and the other points as voted for at Congress – will do.
Otherwise this is a betrayal of those who voted at congress to make this a priority in the new manifesto by the Labour MPs, who surely now, along with the neo-liberals in Progress, are a completely separate, distant entity to mainstream Labour voters and an even further place from the Labour Party which founded the NHS in 1946. I hope that it isn’t too late to turn this around, but I am very worried for the NHS now.
I would be interested to hear what mandate you have from your constituents – myself included along with the other people you represent (and as you probably don’t need reminding) will have the option to not vote for you in 2015 – to take this view that Labour should not follow through what was voted for at Congress – the democratic voice of the Labour party this year. That and the other points I raise above. The current parliamentary system is flawed in that MPs represent their constituents, but are not representative of them. How many of your constituents would vote they way you have in parliament?
I look forward to your responses to each of the points I raise.

From Mike Lammiman’s blog –