Just as the Grand National ended, a cancer doctor completed a far more gruelling 35 mile ultra-marathon in which he ran from Leeds to Sheffield dressed as David Cameron with his orange poodle Cleggy, to highlight the Tory and Lib Dem government’s dismantling of the NHS.
Dr Clive Peedell, the consultant oncologist, who co-founded the NHA Party last November following serious concerns about the Coalition Government's NHS reforms, ran over 30 miles further than the Grand National horses to draw attention to the introduction of Health & Social Care Act – and the role of Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems in allowing it to pass into law.
Dr Peedell was also highlighting the need to oppose controversial NHS regulations which force nearly every part of the NHS to be opened up to compulsory competition. There is a crucial vote on this in the House of Lords on April 24th.
He ran 35 miles from the Department of Health in Leeds to Nick Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam constituency where he delivered an NHS death certificate. Running in a jacket and tie and David Cameron mask, Dr Peedell was accompanied by fellow oncologist Dr David Wilson on a lead and dressed up as “Cleggy”, his orange poodle .
After the run, Dr Peedell said:
“I’m tired but proud to have done it to defend the NHS which I value so highly as a doctor and a citizen. It was really tough towards the end. I was hitting a wall at 30 miles, but flapjacks saved me! I’m really pleased we raised awareness of the damage this government is doing to our NHS.
“I’ll be doing another ultra-marathon in July to mark the 65th anniversary of the NHS. I’m calling it “The CAM-arathon”: 65 miles from London to David Cameron’s Witney constituency where we’ll bury the coffin of the NHS”.
Dr Peedell, who formerly trained in Cancer Medicine and worked at the old Leeds’ Cookridge Hospital, earlier explained why he’d decided to do today’s ultra-marathon:
“With the new legislation having come into effect on April 1st 2013, it signalled the end of the English National Health Service as we know it. We now have an English Health Service, not an NHS. To mark this momentous point in the history of the NHS, a mock death certificate of the NHS will be issued at the start of the “Cleggython”, which aims to raise public awareness of the role the Conservative party and the Liberal Democrats have played in dismantling and increasingly privatising our NHS, despite having no democratic mandate to this.”
“We need to fight back to reclaim and re-instate the NHS. The National Health Action Party is here to take up this fight. It won't be easy and it will take a long time to reverse the damage, but it is possible. This what must be done to get our NHS back:
1. STOP ENFORCED USE OF PRIVATE CONTRACTORS: Revoke the section75 NHS procurement and competition regulations and ensure Clinical Commissioning Groups are NOT forced to tender to the private sector. There is a crucial vote on this in the House of Lords on April 24th.
2. STOP THE ACT BECOMING IRREVERSIBLE: Ensure that David Cameron argues at the G8 in June for our health service to be exempted from the US/EU Free Trade Agreement, which will otherwise lead to a healthcare privatisation "lock-in".
3. WORK TOWARDS RESTORING THE NHS under the terms of Lord Owen's Reinstatement Bill.
“We will continue with campaigns to highlight to the public how they have been misled by the Coalition government over the dismantling and privatisation of the NHS.”
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The Government’s NHS reforms not only broke pre-election promises of the Conservative party not to inflict another “top down re-organisation” of the NHS, but also broke the post-election Coalition Agreement promise, which also stated: “We will stop the top-down reorganisations of the NHS that have got in the way of patient care”.
According to academic and legal analysis published in the British Medical Journal and the Lancet, the Government’s new legislation enshrined within the Health and Social Care Act effectively abolishes the NHS in England. It will end the entitlement to comprehensive healthcare by paving the way to a reduction in “free at the point of use” core NHS services, moving us towards a mixed funding system with an increasing role for the private health insurance industry and increasing privatisation of the provision of healthcare services.
Yet Cameron, Clegg and other coalition Ministers repeatedly stated in the media that there would be “no privatisation of the NHS”. The Government response (see pages 42-43) to the Future Forum also promised to put their position beyond doubt by ruling out any question of NHS privatisation. The evidence, which includes the World Health Organisation definition of healthcare privatisation, clearly suggests they have broken their promises.
Further details about the US/EU trade deal at: http://www.
Further information on Lord Owen’s NHS Reinstatement Bill at: http://www.opendemocracy.net/
The “Cleggython” also forms part of the National Health Action Party’s wider ongoing efforts and campaigns, which aim to highlight what is happening to the NHS to the media and the public. The “Cleggython” is a also prelude to the “CAMarathon”, which is another ultra-marathon on the 65th birthday of the NHS on July 5/6th when Dr Peedell will be running 65 miles from London to David Cameron’s Witney constituency.