Hackney election candidates invited to show support for a public NHS

Serco's Richmond HQ, one of the photos in Marion Macalpine's exhibition, How come we didn’t know.

Serco's Richmond HQ, one of the photos in Marion Macalpine's exhibition, How come we didnt know. - Credit: Archant

Hackney election candidates are being invited to pledge their commitment to a public NHS at a public meeting tomorrow night.

The City and Hackney Coalition to Save the NHS asked candidates for the council and Mayoral election on Thursday May 22 to declare whether they are committed to a free, publicly-funded, fully accountable NHS, whether they oppose the privatisation of health services and whether they would campaign within their own party against privatisation.

All 58 Green candidates and 57 out of the 58 Labour candidates have signed the pledge, along with eight out of 11 Trade Union and Socialist Coalition candidates.

At the Mayoral hustings meeting on Sunday April 27, Liberal Democrat speaker Tony Harms stated no Lib Dem candidates would sign the Pledge, and Conservative Amy Gray said candidates from her party were “unlikely to sign”.

Professor Sue Richards, co-chair of campaign organisation Keep Our NHS Public (KONP), and Dr Gary Marlowe, vice-chair of City and Hackney CCG will also speak at the public meeting tomorrow, where a photographic exhibition by Marion Macalpine, How come we didn’t know, will highlight the different ways the NHS is being privatised.

Coral Jones, honorary secretary of the City and Hackney division of the British Medical Association said the exhibition makes her “despair” about how entrenched the private sector has now become in the NHS.

“It is ever increasing, we see it every day, like when someone needs a referral for something like a cataract operation,” she said.

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“The private providers always have the shortest waiting time because that’s the way they are set up, doctors don’t realise and they believe because it costs the same price as the NHS hospital it’s not costing the NHS any more, but what they don’t realise is that money is leaving the NHS, so that money is not being poured into the service.”

The meeting at Abney Hall in Stoke Newington Church Street starts at 7.30pm on Wednesday May 7.