A doctor and former MP is to stand at the 2015 general election to fight the government’s NHS reforms.
Former independent MP for Wyre Forest and co-leader of the National Health Action Party Richard Taylor said he felt compelled to offer his candidacy following news that £5bn of contracts had been put out to tender.
He said the tender process meant private providers would “make profits out of our sickness” and that it would result in a breakdown of a uniformed, integrated service.
Dr Taylor said: “I cannot sit by and watch the current government’s unmandated devastation of our cherished NHS.
“This was brought home forcibly by this week’s news that £5bn of contracts for NHS services are currently being put out to tender and are likely to be won by private providers. So we really are at risk of losing the integrated, uniform national service that we love. Private providers have discovered that they can make profits out of our sickness.”
He said that the “present chaos” of the NHS 111 non-emergency telephone service had resulted in a fragmented, privatised service that was having a negative impact on patient care.
He added: “Competition in healthcare is just not appropriate.”
Dr Taylor, a former member of the Commons health committee, said he would campaign mainly on the issue of health and called for other independent candidates to step forward to transform national politics.
“David Cameron claims the NHS is safe in his hands. I don’t think voters believe him. The Labour party claims it is the party of the NHS but their recent track record does not support this. That’s why we need MPs whom the public can trust to stand up for our NHS, to restore and, importantly, improve it,” said Dr Taylor.
“Think of the difference we could make to the country if a few of us were elected, totally independent of the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and Ukip? We know many people are looking for alternatives to the main whipped parties to vote for and we can give them that alternative. An independent MP, with real knowledge of and passion for protecting and bettering our health service, can make a huge difference in the House of Commons in debates, committees and all-party groups.”
He went on: “I will encourage other candidates to do what I did before both of my successful elections. That is to provide a personal manifesto on all matters of importance to their potential constituents to know how they, when elected, would vote on a wide range of issues. The huge privilege of being an MP, independent of the main parties, is that one can vote with the government when that is in your constituents’ interests and with the opposition when it is more appropriate.”
Dr Taylor will stand as the Independent Community and Health Concern (ICHC) candidate, of which he is a member. He will also represent the newly-formed National Health Action Party (NHAP). He hopes this will encourage others concerned about the NHS or local health issues to join the NHA Party.
Dr Taylor was formerly elected with an 18,000 majority as MP for Wyre Forest in 2001, after intense anger over the downgrading of Kidderminster Hospital in the West Midlands constituency. He went on to hold the seat in 2005, but lost to the Tories in 2010 after boundary changes. He was ousted by incumbent Conservative MP Mark Garnier.