GP election candidate predicts victory in 'NHS privatisation awareness' bid
By Marina Soteriou, 27 February 2013
A retired GP standing in the upcoming Eastleigh by-election said although he is unlikely to win, it would be a 'massive victory' if he raised awareness about the 'privatisation of the NHS'.
Dr Iain Maclennan is standing as the National Health Action (NHA) party’s first parliamentary candidate since it formed last November to challenge the government's health reforms.
He is standing in the Hampshire constituency, where an election was triggered when the Liberal Democrat cabinet minister Chris Huhne resigned on 5 February.
Polls for Thursday's election are currently putting the Liberal Democrats ahead, with the Conservatives in second, UK Independence Party (UKIP) in third and Labour in fourth, while the ten remaining candidates grouped together as ‘others’ have polled only 6%. These include candidates from the Elvis Loves Pets Party, the Beer, Baccy and Crumpet Party, the Monster Raving Loony William Hill Party and the Christian Party 'Proclaiming Christ's Lordship'.
Despite strong competition and a permanent campaign team of only five people, Dr Maclennan has managed to drum up publicity and said the reception from voters has been positive.
He told GP: ‘People should vote for who they think will best represent them, rather than vote tactically. A vote for the NHA is not a wasted vote because every vote is sending a message to the government to ensure that privatisation doesn't happen.
‘I just hope it will give the NHA some visibility so that people have heard of us when the general election comes.'
He added: ‘The privatisation of the NHS is happening and if people realise that then it will be a massive victory for us. We hope people will put pressure on their MPs to back down from that [the privatisation agenda].’
Last weekend, in freezing weather, he amassed about 25 volunteers to drive round the town in an ambulance giving people health checks. Dr Maclennan posed for photos giving a health check to volunteers wearing face masks of prime minister David Cameron and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg.
Dr Maclennan giving a health check to "David Cameron" and "Nick Clegg" (Photo: Matthew Wallis)
He said: ‘Many people were interested and we came across a couple of GPs who were very positive. They thought it [the decision to stand in the election] was an excellent idea.'
Dr Maclennan in Eastleigh (Photo: Matthew Wallis)
Dr Maclennan became a GP in 1998 and after three years went to join the navy as a medic for a decade, before becoming a public health consultant at NHS Hampshire PCT until January this year.
- Other candidates for the Eastleigh by-election include Maria Hutchings for the Conservative party, Diane James for UKIP, John O’Farrell for the Labour and Mike Thornton for the Liberal Democrats.
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