Friday, March 27, 2015

Where this Green candidate and doctor stands on the NHS

As a PPC, I am getting many emails asking all the Parliamentary  candidates in Weston for their stance on the NHS. I am delighted to see so many people (>80 emails so far) ready to take action to defend the NHS.

I am happy to say that I stand fully and unequivocally for an NHS funded out of general taxation, free at the point of need (including a downward revision of prescription charges for those on lower incomes). I oppose privatisation, and oppose more NHS contracts going to private companies.

I wish to see NHS funded adequately, and I reject the dishonest 3% pa "efficiency savings" that the Tories and LibDem have imposed on the NHS while claiming that the NHS budget is ringfenced.

The NHS is one of the most cost-effective health services in the world, but the Tories and LibDems (and also Labour in their time in office) are trying to push it towards the inefficient USA Health Maintenance Organisation insurance-funded model. This makes no medical, humanitarian or economic sense, but is being imposed purely for ideological, free-market reasons.

I want to see increases in NHS funding, particularly in the mental health sector, where I worked for many years.

There are many real improvements in delivery of care and ways of working that the NHS could bring about. The proper way to do this is from the grassroots up.
If an NHS unit, be it GP surgery or hospital office or department, thinks that they know of a better way of doing things, they can pass a suggestion to a designated manager who will look at their proposal sympathetically and constructively. If it seems to be viable, it will be trialled in other units. If it works in those units, it will be rolled out generally. This is a continuous, organic, grassroots-up approach to reorganisation, and is far preferable to the 13 major top-down reorganisations
that I have seen in my working life which have been disruptive and have rarely produced any substantial improvements.

This grassroots-up continuous reform could also be used to bring new therapies forward. For instance, I have used two extremely effective and brief psychotherapies (the "rewind technique" for PTSD, and "cutting the ties" for oppressive figures in a client's past. Both of these techniques should be assessed for their effectiveness, for their clinical usefulness, particularly for war veterans with PTSD, for drug dependent people in our hostels in Weston, and for survivors of child sexual abuse.

The Green Party is completely opposed in to TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. These trade deals are essentially undemocratic, because they set commercial
interests above laws drawn up by democratically elected governments, in particular laws designed to protech environment and society. The main parties are trying to say
that the NHS would not be affected, but we would be naive to take them at their word. The US healthcare industry must grow year on year, but they cannot grow any more
in the USA, so they are trying to force their expensive, inefficient and inhumane healthcare model onto us in Europe.

I will oppose any future NHS contracts going to private companies. I want privatisation reversed and the NHS protected as a public service.

I am proud of its principles and do now want to return to a time when people could not afford treatment.

The Tories are trying to fudge the issue of privatisation, using weasel words, claiming that Labour started it (so much the worse for Labour), claiming that it puts GPs in charge of commissioning, that Lansley's Act was a wonderful success, and that TTIP will not affect the NHS. I have refuted all their points on this blog post.

The fact is that the Tories (with the LibDems and, sadly, Labour) are all in the process of privatising the NHS. It is also a fact that privatisation is inefficient, as I have shown here: 

If elected (and I have exactly the same chance of being elected as the Labour, LibDem or Ukip candidates) I will continue to fight to make sure the NHS is properly funded so we can all rely on getting quality care whenever we need it.

I have been and still am involved in of the Protect our NHS Campaign that successfully played a part in blocking the franchising out of Weston Hospital services to private companies like the notorious Serco. The campaign was led by the excellent Steve Timmins, but I helped in chairing the meetings, and I ran the website which is here and which still has some useful background information about Weston Hospital

I am moved by the way many people have been helped, even to the point of having your lives saved, by the NHS. I am angered by the sustained media campaign that Tory newspapers, and also the BBC post-2010, have waged against the NHS.

I am angry that the BBC effectively imposed a blackout on discussion of the NHS while Lansley's HSCA was being forced through Parliament by the Tories and LibDems.

I have been dismayed at how little protest has been made against the destruction of the NHS, and I am delighted to see so many good people are really ready to stand up for the NHS.

Please be aware that with the First Past the Post FPTP electoral system which is preferred by Tories and Labour, your vote is not for a party, but for the local candidate and the local candidate alone. The vote has no effect beyond the constituency border. Note also that neither LibDems, nor Labour nor Ukip have any realistic chance of unseating the Tory - although each of them will ritually claim that they can, and the Tory will claim that he is not overconfident of winning. This is merely a political game that parties play in elections. The point is that there is no point in trying to make a tactical vote. Thanks to the FPTP system, the vote in Weston is nothing but a glorified opinion poll. Like it or not, that is how FPTP works.

Therefore, by voting Green  you will be voting for a candidate who is committed and enthusiastically on your side. There is no fear that in voting Green, you will be letting the Tory in; the Tory is already in, thanks to FPTP. If however, Weston delivers a massive Green vote, maybe even putting me in second place, commentators will ask "What was that about?", allowing me a chance to explain the intensity of feeling about the NHS (and also about political corruption and the stupidity of
condemning people to unemployment,  which are also major planks in my platform).

There is much more that I could say, especially on how to improve the position of Weston Hospital but I have already gone on too long.

Thank you again for writing, and - please vote for what you believe in.

Yours for a more democratic, equal and sustainable nation

Richard Lawson
Green Party Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Weston Constituency

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