A local GP who chaired the Save Lewisham Hospital campaign last year is to run in the European Parliament elections on a ‘Save the NHS’ ticket.
Dr Louise Irvine will be standing for the National Health Action Party and hopes to win one of the eight seats for the London constituency in the elections on May 22.
As chairwoman of Save Lewisham Hospital, Irvine helped to lead the campaign that successfully overturned Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s plans to downgrade Lewisham’s A&E and maternity services in the Court of Appeal last year.
Irvine said: “I am standing because I care passionately about defending the NHS. I’ve been a London GP for 20 years and I have seen the damage done by this government’s policies of top down reorganisation, cuts and privatisation. If elected, I will strive to ensure that EU regulations don’t adversely affect the NHS and are always in the best interests of the health of British people.”
She added: “I know that defending NHS services cannot stop at the local level – it has to be tackled at the national and European level. I want to use this election to raise awareness of the imminent danger posed to the NHS by the EU/US Free Trade agreement, which will allow American companies to carve up the NHS and make the privatisation process irreversible.”
The co-leader of the National Health Action Party, Dr Clive Peedell, considers the move an important step for the party. He said: “The National Health Action Party was formed because the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats outrageously broke their pre-election pledges that there would be no top down re-organisation of the NHS and no NHS privatisation. Yet this is precisely what their legislation and reforms are doing.”
In order to be successful in the election, Irvine will need to secure roughly 200,000 votes.
She follows in the footsteps of Dr Richard Taylor, who stood as an MP after campaigning for the restoration of the A&E at his local hospital in Worcestershire.