NHA was involved in one election
- The party did not stand in the EU election later in May because the issues of the election did not involve healthcare in any significant way, and because the size of the regions was too large for a small party to cover sufficiently well. The cost of standing would have been £5,000 per region.
- Veronika Wagner fought the Portsmouth Local Council election for the ward of Cosham. She received a respectable 6% of the vote, where the two winners of the election (both Conservatives) each received 19% of the vote. There was a high turnout of 55%. Veronika was assisted by a number of local supporters and several from other parts of England.
Members of the National Executive were involved in a number of activities
- Marcus Chown, the party’s lead Tweeter, has 80,000 Twitter followers. He is followed by a large number of opinion leaders (journalists and politicians).
- Louise Irvine and Alastair Fischer wrote chapters in a book (“A new way of electioneering”) about the Progressive Alliance in South West Surrey. Alastair has continued to support the progressive alliance movement in that electorate.
- Louise Irvine worked closely with a number of groups that support the NHS and performed a number of radio interviews, particularly station LBC. She has also written articles for the online media campaign group, The Canary.
- Helen Salisbury conducted a number of radio interviews and writes a weekly column in the BMJ about aspects of the NHS.
- Naveen Judah has taken part in local talks.
- In January, Harry Hayfield and Alastair Fischer devised a model of the electoral process to predict the likely outcome of elections in the presence of Brexit. Their model forecast results that are very like current predictions, nearly a year later.
- Veronika Wagner has been active in support of the rights of EU citizens who live in the UK. She also runs the party’s Facebook page.
- David Laurence and Anne Summers hosted all the NAH executive meetings. David also acted as minute secretary.
- All members of the national executive have taken part in marches and demonstrations on a number of social issues.
- Alex Ashman resigned as Co-Leader in August due to the joint pressure of working as a full-time junior doctor and to begin studying for fellowship exams to qualify as a consultant. Alex also ran the web page of the party, and will continue to do so as the party webmaster. Alex took over the helm of the party at a critical time and guided it steadily during his tenure.
- Kane Shaw (the NHA’s part-time publicity officer) has produced a number of blogs for the website
What is the future of the Party?
- The party was formed to oppose the passage of the Health and Social Care bill in 2012. It attracted a large number of members and supporters, but did not receive as much support as was expected from NHS staff. Those who were politically active were already supporters of other parties, mainly the Labour party.
- Like all other small parties, it has not prospered under the First-Past-the-Post voting system. The irony of this system is that although the numbers voting for it are small, the NHA Party is very likely to be the best-placed party to cause an upset win in a head-to-head contest with the incumbent party, because it is almost everyone’s second choice.
- Thus there has been a steady erosion of the number of members of the party to the larger parties, particularly to Labour in 2017. The party has had some excellent candidates, but they tend to leave the party after standing once or twice due to frustrations with the small number of votes afforded to small parties under the current voting system.
- This means that the NHA has every incentive to join in Alliances with like-minded parties, and to stand only a single candidate in an electorate so as not to split the vote.
- Thus the party should stand only one or two candidates in General Elections. Its supporters in other electorates should be asked to campaign for the Progressive Alliance candidate.
- The NHA should stand candidates in Local elections in areas of closures of hospitals and of running-down of services.
- Members and supporters should be encouraged to take a greater role in the running of the party. Much of this work could be carried out at home.
- The NHA should concentrate efforts where its strengths are greatest: in social media, and in putting together articles and blogs which very few others are capable of doing. In other words, act as a think tank with a difference. But for this it needs funding.
- It may have a role as acting as a voice-piece for groups that have very few outlets for acting as pressure groups. This includes groups such as carers and groups with disabilities. They could have very great voting power.
- We may also have an educative role. People in large cities should be prepared to pay for courses to allow them to understand the problems of the NHS, and of the way it is organised, in greater detail.
- Will we contest the coming general election? Where should we contest if we were to contest only one electorate? Who could stand for us?