Dr Clive Peedell and the NHA Party have the potential to become, if not a major electoral force, then an intriguing and unpredictable new threat to the main parties. The NHA will target between 20 and 30 seats at the next election. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his predecessor Andrew Lansley will all be challenged in their constituencies by an NHA candidate – in most cases a practising doctor. Constituencies where local hospitals are under threat or have suffered cuts or sell-offs under the coalition are also on the list. Labour MPs on the Blairite end of the spectrum could also face a challenge, but Dr Peedell confirmed his party had no intention of splitting the left-wing vote – believing that “the only realistic option to defend the NHS” is a Labour government.
“If we can catch a public wave of anger, a people’s movement when people understand their NHS is under threat, they will get behind us. If we catch that wave of public opinion we can win seats,” he said.
Dr Peedell leads the NHA alongside co-founder Richard Taylor, the doctor who contested and won the Wyre Forest parliamentary seat in 2001, on a platform of restoring A&E services at Kidderminster hospital. He held the seat for nine years – winning the respect of constituents and parliamentarians alike during his time in the House. It’s an example Dr Peedell hopes might be repeated.
The NHA Party policies:
- De-commercialisation of the healthcare system, with co-operation rather than competition.
- Neutering of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and abolition of the purchaser/provider split.
- Increased public involvement in healthcare, with a reduced reliance on management consultants.
- Improvements to public health, social care, housing and other matters that affect the nation’s health.
- A ‘new politics’ with greater roles for independent candidates and public interests.