Dr Alex Ashman
I joined the NHA in 2012 because I was deeply unhappy with the Health & Social Care Act. As a surgical registrar I have seen first-hand the costly bureaucracies and rationing of care that resulted from the growing marketisation of our health service. It is vital we support measures to reinstate a nationalised NHS, whilst campaigning against further fragmentation such as the STPs.
Having worked as a volunteer founding and running the NHA Facebook page, I was elected to the NHA’s national executive committee in 2014. I was on the ballot for the Euro Elections that year, and I supported Dr Louise Irvine in her General Election campaign against Jeremy Hunt. More recently I have been chairing the executive committee’s meetings, and working to review the party’s standing orders.
I have worked closely with the party administrators and the previous co-leaders, and I have a good knowledge of the party and its aims. I feel the NHA should be led not just by its co-leaders, but by the executive committee and with reference to the party membership as a whole. I wish to retain the party’s original ideals whilst developing the NHA as a political and campaigning body.
I am a retired accountant and ex Further Education College Principal. For about 10 years I was Finance Director and team leader for mergers and acquisitions for a very large American multi national company and latterly as a Senior Business consultant resolving management. I am married with a 15 year old son who has severe learning needs and so I have first hand experience of Health and Social services. I understand the issues both from a user and a management point of view.
I am very involved in the voluntary sector as well. I am
- Chair of a local Healthwatch
- Governor at 2 special needs schools
- Parish Councillor
- Chair and founder of my town's Disability network
I am very concerned about how the changes in our health and social services sectors are affecting not only the quality and access to services but also our approach to societal change which at the moment seems to be regressive rather than progressive.
I feel it my duty to help to influence these changes by playing a role in achieving the vision and delivering the mission of the National Health Action Party.
I was a founding member of NHA in 2012, and was elected as Nominating Officer for the first 12 months. I stood down from the Executive of the party as there was a potential conflict of interest arising from my work at NICE. Since then I have acted in a non-voting advisory role on elections to the committee. Any potential conflict of interest was resolved when I changed jobs this year and so I would like to stand again for the executive.
I have a PhD in voting theory and practice and have been the author of two amendments to the Australian Electoral Act of 1983. Since migrating to the UK in 1996, I have worked as a health economist, both as an academic and as an economic advisor to NICE Appraisals and Public Health committees. This work has given me a number of insights into the way that the NHS has been run.
As a follower of the Nobel prizewinners Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, I have never been a fan of the harsh austerity plan that was followed by the UK government since 2010. I am deeply concerned at the lack of funding for the NHS, for health prevention, social care and other local government activities. France and Germany spend some 25% more on health per head than we do in the UK, and the gap is widening. They are not cutting back like the UK, even when their economies are growing more slowly than ours. Of course we can afford to spend significantly more on hospitals, GPs and ambulances. They have been starved of funds which has meant missed targets. Privatisation may sometimes provide a cheaper service, but usually at the expense of quality. You and I could buy a car for £400, but most of us don't, because a jalopy is poor value for money. So is a jalopy privatised health service.
I am a consultant in Public Health in the NHS for many years, specialising in health care needs assessment and service planning. I now work part time in the NHS as a consultant in clinical commissioning and as an independent consultant in NHS service improvement projects. I am an honorary senior lecturer in health services research, I have carried out many research projects to improve health and social care.
I am a founder-member of the NHA Party and have been minutes secretary for three years. I am passionate about achieving better health for all of us and there is evidence that a more egalitarian society is a healthier society. It is crucial that we have a comprehensive health and social care service which is of excellent quality and available for all.
Dr Louise Irvine
Chair of Save Lewisham Hospital
NHA representative for Health Campaigns Together
I have been a GP in south east London for over 20 years. I joined the NHA party shortly after it was founded and have been an executive member for the past two years. I have been a member of Keep Our NHS Public and an active campaigner in defence of the NHS for many years. When my local hospital came under threat of closure I launched the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign and have been chair of the campaign since then. The campaign was spectacularly successful: high points include a demonstration of 25,000 people in Lewisham and winning our judicial review both in the High Court and Court of Appeal.
I stood for the National Health Action Party against Jeremy Hunt in South West Surrey in the general election, winning nearly 5000 votes (8%) and, along with all our other great candidates, helped to make the wider public more aware of the threats to the NHS from privatisation and underfunding. I am on the Council of the British Medical Association, elected there because of my track record in opposing the Health and Social Care Bill. I am also a member of Doctors in Unite, which is the medical branch of Unite the Union.
The NHA Party punches well above its weight in its impact on the public discourse on the NHS and it is vital that we continue to do so. I see the National Health Action Party as having an important profile and set of ideas and messages that complements the work of other pro NHS organisations in fighting privatisation, cuts and attacks on NHS staff. I think it is important that we work closely with these other organisations while making our unique contribution. The NHA Party must also promote its positive vision of how the NHS could be improved, by getting rid of the market, enabling genuine co-operation and collaboration, funding it properly and giving a stronger voice to patients and staff.
Mental Health Expert
Prior to my election in 2015, I had been an NHA supporter for a couple of years and a full member for about a year. This is the first time in my life that I have joined a political party.
I work in the NHS and can see for myself how NHS cuts and privatisation under the guise of austerity affect patients and staff. I want no part in privatisation, I wish to campaign for a socially just, publicly funded and delivered NHS.
Dr Helen Salisbury
I’m a GP in Oxford and I have worked in the NHS for 25 years. I also teach medical students at Oxford University. I stood for the NHA in the 2015 General Election for Oxford West and Abingdon and at the Witney By-election in 2016.
I am an effective public speaker and am building experience with live radio broadcasting and social media. I will try to bring common sense, optimism and a focus on our shared goals – to keep a comprehensive NHS, publicly provided and funded out of general taxation. I hope we will be able to collaborate with others who share our aims and challenge those who do not. The party has two local councillors and is in a good position to grow and become a louder voice in defence of the NHS, which it sorely needs. I will be effective in raising that voice.
Marcus Chown is a cosmologist, author and New Scientist writer. His prolific and informative use of Twitter has earned both Marcus and the NHA Party many thousands of new followers.
Campaigns and Events
Deborah Harrington is an experienced NHS campaigner and NHA stalwart. She has put many long hours into keeping the party running through difficult times.
I’m a writer and journalist, I live in Cornwall, and am married with a small child. I come from a communication specialist background and have previously been an advisor to the London 2012 Olympic Bid, the Metropolitan Police and the RFU on, among other things, equality and public engagement issues, as well as sexual and domestic violence. I've done some TV and radio work, as well as various public speaking.
Not only can the NHS be saved, but we actually have a moral and economic duty to do so if we ever want a fair and progressive society which leaves no one behind. Critical to achieving this is positive action and clear, accessible communication. As well as moving beyond seeing this as ‘just’ a fight for the National Health Service; this about all our public services, and more broadly, social justice and equality.
Campaigns and Events
I have been involved with the NHA since 2012 when it was founded. In 2014 I stood with Dr Louise Irvine and Marcus Chown as one of eight candidates in the London European Elections. I come from a background in maternity campaigning in South East London where I was involved in the successful Save Lewisham Hospital campaign.
Since the summer of 2014 I have worked in the party's campaign team alongside Deborah Harrington. We have been campaigning on the Sustainability and Transformation Plans since early 2016 and have been working to increase representation at a local level. I hope to be able to work with our two local councillors (also standing for the exec) to encourage further representation at this level. I believe that we can bring about effective change in our local communities as well as having a consistent and clear voice on national campaigns.
Dr Carl Walker
Defend Our NHS Sussex
Mental Health Expert
I am a university lecturer and community mental health researcher. I have 15 years experience of working with mental health service users and have helped to run a number of local mental health projects. I have published seven books and nearly 40 papers in the field of mental health, social inequality, personal debt and austerity.
I chair a European Community Psychology Association Task force on austerity and mental health, recently co-founded 'Psychologists against Austerity' and I'm a national section committee member of the British Psychological Society. I also lead a strategy group of our local Sussex Defend the NHS group.
I stood as an NHA candidate in the recent general election, have written a number of national pieces on mental health and austerity.
NHA Councillor, Chorley
I want the party to become a truly focused force for our NHS by standing up at every opportunity to challenge the political elite on their brutal and undemocratic treatment of our services which are having a negative impact on our patients and colleagues.
As an elected NHA Official within local government I know the lessons we would learn to build a bigger and better campaign structure to create an effective campaign force and engage with the public on the issues that matter to them.
We must take advantage of the changing political climate and show people that not all politicians are the same and that we have shared vision of fair treatment of all and a fully publicly funded NHS. We need to look at how UKIP as an outsider party managed to steer the Government into having the European Union debate and referendum. We must find our own way of steering the government and the formal opposition into holding the same debate about the NHS and the state of our health and social services generally. As a party we need to steer this debate in the public interest.
We must work hard to get as many of our own members on to NHS Foundation Trust boards and to hold the management and government departments at all levels to account.
The party needs to be fully funded and members fully engaged in our policies, campaigns and procedures. I want to make the NHA a stronger and more focused party.