National Health Action Party press release 6th June 2016
Wales is often held up as an example of how the NHS can still be run as a public service even in times of public sector cuts and a push for privatisation.
But Llansantffraed Community Councillor Harry Hayfield’s personal experience has led him to realise that whilst there are differences between what is happening to the NHS in England and the NHS in Wales they share a common problem – underfunding leads to cuts in service.
Cllr Hayfield says,
“I have been a Liberal Democrat for the past twenty four years, however last March a chain of events started that has persuaded me it is time to change.
When my grandmother was put onto the Welsh NHS’ waiting list for a hip operation, I was fully aware that she would have to wait at least eighteen months. But what I was not aware of was just how painful the condition was. She was forced into a position where her only option was to have private treatment. Although the operation was a success she was discharged without being completely tested for after effects. That treatment was to lead to complications which meant she was admitted as a patient to the NHS, after all.
The NHS is obliged to provide emergency treatment but its underfunding is restricting its ability to provide a timely service to the public. It is clear to me from my experience that a market for the private sector is being opened up.
I was elected as a Liberal Democrat community councillor in Ceredigion but worry that, because the money for the NHS comes from Westminster, the Welsh service is in desperate need of help that the Assembly has little control over. Having seen that it’s the NHS which picks up the pieces after private healthcare has made its profits, I am concerned that there is no clear political voice spelling out what the real issues are.
I have therefore made a personal decision to join the National Health Action Party in order to campaign for people, like my grandmother, to get the care and treatment that they deserve."
Dr Clive Peedell, the NHA party leader said,
“We are delighted by Cllr Hayfield’s decision. We do not want to see the NHS in Wales – or in Scotland – following the same route as in England. We were very disappointed to hear Leanne Woods talking before the Welsh Assembly elections about creating lean organisations, bringing in the private sector and tightening up the public sector. This sounds worryingly like the language of someone who has accepted George Osborne’s austerity agenda.
Progressive politics recognises the importance of a clear distinction between public service and private business. Investing in the NHS as a public service brings rewards to the greater economy, it is not a drain. Cllr Hayfield wants to use his change of party to highlight that distinction, to make people realise that better services cannot be provided under a constant regime of cuts and change. The NHS in all the UK’s countries needs stability, public provision and decent funding.
Cllr Hayfield will be making a public statement, which we support, about his change of party. If there are 10 people from his electoral area who object to his change of party then he will stand down and campaign for his community council place under his new colours.
We hope his local electorate will understand and respect his reasons for change and allow him to help the NHA to highlight the danger our NHS faces from underfunding and privatisation.
Cllr Hayfield also has a personal reason for wanting to be part of NHA. He grew up up in the area served by Dr. Richard Taylor, who co-founded the NHA with me and is now its life president. Dr Taylor was the MP for Wyre Forest, and was elected twice as an independent candidate fighting for an NHS that was fit for purpose. The National Health Action Party welcomes Cllr Hayfield as part of that campaign."