The National Health Action party, which opposes the coalition’s NHS reforms, aims to stand 50 candidates in the next General Election.
Founded by BMA council member Dr Clive Peedell, the NHA is also critical of the market reforms of previous Governments, arguing for a unified and publicly owned NHS.
The NHA is not allied to the Labour Party or to any left organisation: it seeks to defend the NHS in isolation from broader political or economic issues.
Peedell, a consultant oncologist, traces NHS privatisation back to the 1990 NHS and Community Care Act, which separated purchasers from providers.
Speaking to The Guardian, he said: “We are going to see the NHS shrink to a rump service and everyone else forced to pay top-ups in the future.”
According to the NHA’s analysis, key aspects of NHS reform are designed to lead to privatisation: shifting healthcare to the community will make it easier for private providers to enter the NHS market, while personal health budgets will open the door to charges for NHS services.
Peedell does not accept the argument that the NHS was integral to the postwar socialist agenda: he argues that it lasted within a market-driven society for 60 years, but more recently the three major parties have irrationally undermined it.
The NHA aims to target 50 Parliamentary seats held by coalition MPs who supported the Health and Social Care Act.
However, an analysis by Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft predicted that its campaign would keep Labour out of power.