As I post, nearly 45,000 people have signed an online petition from 38 degrees calling on the main parties to commit to keeping the NHS free at the point of use, and rule out NHS charges: http://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/65
This follows a report http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/03/basic-nhs-services-could-be-charged-for-after-general-election-bma-chief-says
where Dr Mark Porter, the head of the British Medical Association (BMA), said that whoever took office after the general election would inevitably be tempted to bring in charges.
Of course, Dr.Porter is right to sound the alarm. With all the main parties committed to the same plans for cuts and 'austerity', whichever of them is elected, then the NHS is inevitably not safe in any of their hands.
In contrast, TUSC, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, with over 130 General Election candidates standing nationally, making us the sixth largest stand of any party on May 7, is absolutely committed to the NHS being free at the point of use. We stand fully opposed to all those who would use public services - whether it be schools (in which I work myself), transport or health services - as a source of profit instead of vital support for our communities.
Put Health before Wealth
With a father who lived in Tredegar in the 1940's, in many ways the birthplace of the NHS, I was brought up knowing full well of the demands for a genuinely free health service and how the miners and labour movement had fought to change the injustice where only those who could afford it had access to healthcare. That is, of course, the situation that will return if charges start to be made for basic services.
TUSC stands on those original traditions of the trade union movement, traditions that have been abandoned by the Labour Party and, of course, were never really shared by the other main parties in the first place. We would go further than opposing further charges for NHS services, we would fight to remove the charges that already exist - e.g for prescriptions, dental services and IVF treatment which already put wealth before health for some people.
We would cancel the PFI debts and campaign to bring the big drug and supply companies into a democratically controlled genuinely public NHS to stop the profiteering out of ill-health and to help provide the resources required to meet the needs of all.