Open Letter to Jeremy Corbyn from Clive Peedell

Dear Jeremy Corbyn,

First of all congratulations on winning this election.

What you have achieved shows that there is demonstrable support for anti-austerity politics around the country. That is something we have never doubted in the NHA, despite the opinion of the mass media and government representatives.

Having said that, it would be foolish to think that ideologically driven austerity, which underfunds and undermines our public services, will step aside in the face of public opposition. You have stated publicly that opposition parties must work together. I think that you should start those discussions straight away.

I co-founded the NHA party 3 years ago in reaction to the Health & Social Care Act, which ended the NHS as we know it. It was always clear to me and to my colleagues who founded the party that the Labour Party had played a significant role in the dismantling of the NHS. The legislation they enacted extended the market and established the private sector’s role. They have failed to alert the public to the real extent of the damage being done under the Coalition and the current government. They even allowed David Cameron to claim to be the protector of the NHS, a claim that should have been laughable, not credible.

There has been a groundswell of anger from within the NHS against Jeremy Hunt since he launched his ‘24/7’ NHS plans. He and his Cabinet colleagues appear to be the only people in the country who don’t know we already have a 24/7 NHS. He accused consultants of opting out when they don’t, has refused decent pay rises to nurses, wants to force reduced pay and conditions on staff across the board, has presided over A&E closures that have had fatal consequence, made £200million cuts to the public health budget and has presided for too long over hospitals being run according to financial not clinical judgement.

You acknowledged the problems of the market in the NHS today in your speech and have spoken of the PFI deals shackling the NHS Foundation Trusts. Both these areas are of great concern. That is why I take this opportunity to issue an invitation to you to discuss the way forward for the NHS with myself and my colleagues, passionate defenders of its core values, with the knowledge and direct experience ‎to offer workable solutions.

On Monday, two days after your election, there will be a debate on Jeremy Hunt’s proposals in Westminster Hall. It should be a debate on a vote of no confidence in Jeremy Hunt as required by the petition rules but it has been altered.

As an act of good faith, and in order to show that you will start your leadership as you mean to go on the Labour Party should turn up in force to that debate and insist it be used as a vote of no confidence. That’s what the petition demanded. Many tens of thousands attended your rallies. Many hundreds of thousands more, from all parties and campaign groups, signed petitions and have written articles and emails in opposition to this government’s attacks on the NHS. If those who elected you are recognised as a groundswell of public opinion, so should those demanding that Jeremy Hunt be held accountable and their views should be represented unequivocally by Labour MPS in Westminster Hall on Monday.

Your leadership holds the promise of a new optimism. We hope it will be borne out in the creation of a real new politics offering recognition of political allies in the fight against austerity, against the destruction of our public services and that we can be united against the Tories in the defence of our NHS.

Congratulations once again

Clive Peedell

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