1. The government has put massive investment into the NHS, yet polls suggest the Tories are now more trusted to run it. What would be the first three steps that you would like to see to improve the NHS?
2. Why do you think health reforms have produced such a strong reaction from NHS staff?
All change is difficult. I think we need to work more closely with the unions and patients’ groups, and involve the public more. For example, I would want to reform PCTs so that an element of their boards are directly elected.
3. Should extensive private sector involvement in the health service be continued or curtailed and why? Do you favour the expansion of private involvement into primary care, with companies running GP surgeries and PCT services being outsourced?
If the independent sector or mutual sector can help to deliver better NHS services, for example by reducing waiting times for knee, hip or cataract operations, then we should have no ideological opposition to it.
4. Aside from private sector involvement, reforms have aimed to create a quasi-market with NHS hospitals competing with each other and earning their ‘payments by results’. Has this been wise and should it continue to be the direction of travel?
Yes, because we need more transparency in the funding and expenditure of the NHS, not least to expose the inequalities in health spending between poor and rich areas.
5. There has been talk recently of charges for health services – Charles Clarke said the NHS should provide core services for free but demand a fee for peripheral treatments. What would your policy be on NHS charges?
Instinctively I am against them, but I would need to see the detail before saying ‘never’.
6. Does the public really value choice in the NHS?
Yes. The middle classes have always had choice. They’ve played the system. The working class have put up with second-rate services from the NHS. This is what experts call the ‘inverse care law’ and as socialists we have a duty to address it. By introducing choice, we give power to patients, and that will lead to better, fairer services.
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The snap general election represents a unique opportunity to defeat this terrible government. We believe that visual artists have a crucial role to play!
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Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 24 May
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West Yorkshire calls for devolution of politics
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The Digital Liberties cross-party campaign
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Event: Take Back Control Croydon
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Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 19 April
On April 19th, we’ll be holding the second of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.
Changing our attitude to Climate Change
Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Technology spells out what we need to do to break through the inaction over climate change
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Donald Trump’s key allies are as alarming as the man himself
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Joint statement on George Osborne’s appointment to the Evening Standard
'We have come together to denounce this brazen conflict of interest and to champion the growing need for independent, truthful and representative media'
Paul O’Connell and Michael Calderbank consider the conditions that led to the Brexit vote, and how the left in Britain should respond
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Corbyn understands the needs of our communities
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Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 15 March
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Social Workers Without Borders
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The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
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Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next
Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace
Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill