University professor advocates for NHS in parliament, marking its 75th anniversary

Group sit round a table holding a report entitled The Rational Policy-Maker’s Guide to the NHS

As the NHS approached its 75th anniversary, a University of Liverpool academic worked with partners to deliver a report at the Houses of Parliament on Tuesday 4 July, detailing evidence to policy makers on the importance of the NHS to the British economy.

Patricia Murray, a former NHS nurse and Professor of Stem Cell Biology presented The Rational Policy-Maker’s Guide to the NHS this week along with panel members from clinical and NHS management backgrounds as well as business leaders.

At the panel event, the audience, which included parliamentarians from the Commons and Lords, heard compelling evidence that advocated for the long-running institution. Here panel members stressed that the NHS can’t withstand underfunding and if it is allowed to fail, the economy will fail with it.

The report has been put together by a multi-disciplinary team of volunteers led by the 99% Organisation, and supported by Keep Our NHS Public, EveryDoctor, the National Health Action Party and others. The lead author is Mark E Thomas, Founder of the 99% Organisation, mathematician, strategist, author and a Visiting Professor at IE Business School. The other authors have deep expertise in a range of relevant areas including NHS management, senior clinical roles, economics and financial analysis.

Professor Patricia Murray said: “I was delighted to join colleagues at this important event and contribute to the report. When the National Health Service was launched in 1948, it was arguably the single most important social development in 20th Century Britain. Our report demonstrates how underfunding the NHS inevitably creates an increasingly sick population which in turn leads to lower economic output – creating a downward cycle.

“It was crucial to present this evidence to policy and decision makers at the Houses of Parliament and unequivocally demonstrate the power of the NHS and the best course of action to protect it.”

Professor Murray’s contribution explored what happens when people get squeezed out and can no longer access services, looking at the current issues experienced by dentistry where some areas of the country don’t have access to free dental care. She also explored the potentially damaging outcomes of private health care, giving examples of private clinics marketing unproven therapies to patients, particularly for orthopaedic conditions and in some cases have resulted in patients having to ultimately use the NHS for corrective treatment. Prof Murray also challenged misconceptions of the NHS’s capabilities when it comes to innovation, giving specific examples of how many innovations are driven by NHS staff.

Read the full report here. Professor Patricia Murray was on the panel with:

Mark E. Thomas: the founder of the 99% Organisation
Tony O’Sullivan, co-chair of Keep our NHS Public and a retired consultant community paediatrician.
Chris Banks, previous Chief Executive of various NHS Trusts.
The event was hosted by Richard Burgon, MP for Leeds East.

PICTURED L-R: Patricia Murray, Chris Banks, Richard Burgon, Mark Thomas, Tony O’Sullivan.