A photo of a protest calling for an end to NHS outsourcing. Campaigners are holding signs which read "NHS privatisation kills". The protest took place at a time when there are moves to use the private sector to clear NHS waiting lists

Parliamentary candidates are being urged to make a ‘Pledge for the NHS’ in advance of the next general election. Anti-privatisation campaign group We Own It is calling on parliamentary candidates to – if elected – demand investment in the NHS to match equivalent European countries, regardless of who wins the next election.

A host of celebrities, including Frankie Boyle, Stephen Fry and Rosie Holt are supporting the new campaign. Marcus Brigstocke, Ben Bailey-Smith (AKA Doc Brown), Rankin, Ken Loach and Lee Ridley (AKA the Lost Voice Guy) have also given their support.

In a statement in support of the campaign, Boyle said: “The NHS has been strategically underfunded by successive governments to facilitate its gradual privatisation. The NHS works best as a public service: it’s a monopoly, and functions best when able to take advantage of this.

“The NHS should be robustly protected from those who seek to turn medical needs into profits. We only need to look to the US to see the life altering medical bills people can be landed with under a privatised system. Health provision should be entirely nationalised, and markets should have no place in something as important as healthcare provision.“

A study by the Health Foundation suggests that Britain spends £40 billion less per year on the NHS than is spent in the French healthcare system in the same time. Compared to Germany’s spend on healthcare, the same study suggests the NHS’s budget is £73 billion less.

The campaign also calls for the reinstatement of the Health Secretary’s legal duty to provide healthcare to all, which was scrapped by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act. Campaigners say this would enable families who have lost loved ones to hold the government to account in court.

We Own It has put together a letter writing tool which allows members of the public to call on their parliamentary candidates to sign up to the ‘Pledge for the NHS’, which also calls for NHS services that are outsourced to for-profit companies to be brought back into the NHS as contracts end.

Speaking on the launch of the tool, Stephen Fry said: “Send the We Own It letter to all parliamentary figures in your area. It really matters. Tell them that you demand that they take care of our NHS for the future, for the future of everyone in our country”.

Johnbosco Nwogbo, lead campaigner at We Own It, said: “The NHS is a key election issue. Right now we have a short window of opportunity to shape election manifestos and show political candidates that ending privatisation and protecting our NHS as a fully public service is a priority for voters.

“Politicians don’t always do what they promise, but they hardly ever do good things that they didn’t promise. That’s why we must push for bold commitments to end wasteful outsourcing, fund our NHS in line with the rest of Europe, and protect it for future generations.

“Let’s send a clear message that we’ll be voting for politicians who take the Pledge for the NHS.”

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