Momentum NHS – Why we exist, what we stand for

This statement was drafted collectively by Momentum NHS organisers over a number of meetings and discussions between the start of December 2015 and the end of January 2016.

Fighting for Labour to fight for the NHS, and reinstate it as a comprehensive, well funded, fully public service

We are part of the Momentum movement, campaigning specifically for the Labour Party to adopt an uncompromising stance on saving the National Health Service – by carrying out its existing good policies on the NHS (for instance the 2012 party conference motion) and adopting new, more radical ones. Labour needs a clear message on the NHS if it is going to challenge and defeat the Tories’ privatisation agenda.

The NHS at its best has been emblematic of the kind of working-class and socialist values Labour should stand for. Its creation represented at least the aspiration to an equal right to life and health, regardless of wealth – a clearing of planning and provision for need in the midst of the free market jungle. We want to see Labour actively fighting for an NHS which provides top quality healthcare as a right, meeting clinical need through a system which is comprehensive, well funded, and publicly-owned, run and provided.

Over more than three decades the health service has been systematically undermined by those in power.

• We therefore seek a complete reversal of the process of privatisation and marketisation, and increased public funding, through measures like taxing the rich, to end the funding crisis manufactured to prepare the ground for full-scale privatisation, eliminate PFI and the problems created by PFI debts, and reinstate the NHS as a comprehensive public service meeting clinical need. We oppose and fight for Labour to oppose treaties like TTIP. We reject any insurance-based system, whether a full blown market like in the US, or a public insurance system like in France or Germany. We highlight the horrendous effect of cuts, particularly to mental health services and social care.
• We want to ensure any integration of health and social care means that social care also becomes a free, fully public system, funded through general taxation. Integrated care budgets should not be an excuse for cuts to the overall budget or the introduction of use-fees into the NHS.
• We support health workers’ struggles, and defend their right to democratic control over their working environment. We want the NHS to combine public ownership and accountability with democratic control and input by workers, service-users and communities.
• We affirm that the NHS should be a universal service. We fight as a priority for the restoration of free access for migrants, and reject any limitation of the service on the basis of “self-inflicted” illness (eg smoking or obesity related diseases).

In pursuit of these goals we will argue and organise within the Labour Party and its affiliated organisations, and the trade union movement more generally. Rather than duplicating the work of other NHS campaigns we will work with a variety of campaigns in order to develop fruitful links between them and Labour. At the same time we will work for Labour and the labour movement, nationally and locally, to campaign for the future of the NHS while also helping to build the fight to defend it now.

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