- What is your view of the current state of the finances in the NHS and what would be your plans for the next five years, funding wise?
Whilst our manifesto is yet to be published, I envisage the pledges and principles within the 2015 manifesto will remain. We will end privatisation and austerity in the NHS. Healthcare will be fully publicly funded with no internal markets or outsourcing so that money spent on healthcare remains in the public economy. We will have a patient centred approach to the NHS, free at the point of use. Social care will be free for the elderly. We will invest in mental health services and I personally pledge to suport the Stroke Association. These and other initiatives, such and buying out existing PFI contracts, free prescriptions, eye tests and dental care, will cost £12bn plus 1.2% inflation per year (2015 figure) and will be funded through taxation. We will increase corporation tax for non SME companies to 30% and this will in part be used to fund our plans for an NHS that works for all, not for profit. We will bring spending on healthcare (in terms of GDP) closer to our EU neighbours. Other Green party policies such as tackling air pollution and bringing our housing stock up to standard will reduce the burden on the NHS by reducing serious illness caused by diesel fumes (40000 premature deaths per year) and excess winter deaths (30000 per year) caused by fuel poverty.
2. Can you tell us if you would support companies from the EU being given access to running NHS services in return for concessions in the BREXIT negotiations?
I would not support our NHS being used as a bargaining chip in Brexit or any political negotiations. Healthcare is not a commodity to be bought and sold for economic purposes. The NHS should be run for the public good.
3) What are your views on private providers running NHS services, would you vote in Parliament to extend such arrangements?
I would vote in parliament to restrict private provision in the NHS and am fundamentally opposed to profit being made from patient care. The Green Party will repeal the Health and Social Care Act. Unfortunately there are some 20% of services now tendered out to private, for profit companies and this will take time to undo. Any private provision should be in place only out of necessity and profit should be limited in these cases. We will end commercial confidentiality so that any profit made is known.
4. What problems with the NHS have you identified as specific to our local area?
The local acute NHS trust has had to give back to the government c£124m in efficiency savings since 2010. Staff moral is reported in the local media as low. A&E and other waiting times are breached. Ward’s are understaffed. Patient care must be affected by this and its all due to an ideology that money needs to be saved in the name of austerity. Yet we are the 6th largest global economy. The commisioning of healthcare is by design weighted against the NHS, favouring private for profit providers who inevitably win many of the contracts on tender. For example the local ambulance service has lost its contract and the service will be run by Thames Ambulance Services. How often do we see private ambulances emblazoned with a “working in parnership with the NHS” logo? The NHS is being privatised by stealth and it must stop. These are difficult times for our local NHS, the patients who use their ideologically under-resourced services and the staff who work there.
5)What are your opinions on creating a National Care Service and how it should funded?
I welcome the Labour Party’s initiative of a National Care Service and believe a plan to provide state support and care for people needing access to carers and the people providing the caren is long overdue. This is a very important area that has been neglected. I am aware that in some cases funding is given to carers and that they are then required to employ and manage care provision themselves. A system akin to an NHS for people in need of care support has to be the way to go.