Party of the NHS

Labour Party Conference 2012 in Manchester voted unanimously to ‘restore the NHS’ – a commitment that added clarity to the previous welcome commitments to repeal the Health & Social Care Act.

The motion (full text on LRC website) commits the next Labour Government to “stop this Government’s privatisation and liberate the NHS from extortionate PFI charges” as well as to “campaign against privatisation, cuts and closures and to restore the principle of a publicly owned, publicly provided, and publicly accountable NHS funded by progressive taxation and delivering care on the basis of need and not ability to pay”.

Labour CLPs and affiliated unions have often led the way in campaigning locally against local hospital cuts and closures. The motion also called on all sections of the Party “to work to ensure decent national wages, pensions and conditions for those working for the NHS”.

Moving the composite – based on a model LRC motion – Patrick Smith, Hull North delegate and LRC member, said:

“We’re seeing the Tories selling the NHS off to their mates, but it’s not just driven by self interest; it’s ideological. They hate what the NHS represents: the socialist principle of an equal right to life and health, regardless of your ability to pay.

“Nye Bevan said, ‘The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it’. Conference, we must be those people. We must reach out to our communities, our health workers, and our trade unions. So that in the future, we can look our children in the eyes and tell them: we were the ones who fought. Conference, I move.”

Patrick’s speech, which was one of the best speeches of Conference, can be read in full via the LRC website.

Over a dozen CLPs passed the LRC model motion and delegates prioritised it for debate at Conference. The unanimous passing of the motion demonstrates Party members’ and unions’ clear and passionate commitment to the NHS.

It is now up to us all to ensure those commitments are clearly articulated in the election manifesto.

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