How the Communist Party Founded the Principle of the NHS

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Constitution (Fundamental Law) of the Soviet Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics: Part II – The State and the Individual – Articles 42 – 43:

‘Citizen of the USSR have the right to health provision. This right is ensured by free, qualified medical care provided by State Health Institutions: by extension of the network of therapeutic and health-building institutions: by the development and improvement of safety and hygiene in industry: by carrying out broad prophylactic measures: by measures to improve the environment: by special care for the health of the rising generation, including prohibition of child labour, excluding the work done by children as part of the school curriculum: and by developing research to prevent and reduce the incidence of disease and ensure citizens a long and active life. (Article 42)

Citizens of the USSR have the right to maintenance in old age, in sickness, and in the event of complete or partial disability or loss of the breadwinner. This right is guaranteed by social insurance of workers and other employees and collective farmers: by allowances for temporary disability: by the provision by the State or collective farms of retirement pensions, disability pensions, and pensions for loss of the breadwinner: by providing employment for the partially disabled: by care for the elderly and the disabled: and by other forms of social security.’ (Article 43)

(Novosti Press Agency Publishing House, Moscow, 1985) – Pages 30-31.

Although the British Labour Party instigated the National Health Service in the UK in 1948, it was not the Labour Party that first ‘invented’ or ‘developed’ this idea. The Labour Government of 1945-1950 undertook a radical redistribution of wealth based primarily upon the 1942 Beveridge Report, which suggested that it might be in the best interests of the Bourgeois British State if it took measures to make the lives better for the hundreds of thousands of returning working class men who had been trained in the military and hardened in battle. No doubt this was a shrewd move designed to prevent a Socialist Revolution initiated by a disgruntled population. Of course, Winston Churchill was opposed to any ‘Socialist’ reform that would help the working class achieve a better life, and actively campaigned against it – the main reason he lost the 1945 election. Where did the Labour Party get the idea for a fully comprehensive healthcare system delivered ‘free’ at the point of use, but which was collectively paid for through taxation?

The idea that everyone contributes to the health of the nation was had by VI Lenin as part of the 1917 October Revolution. In fact, during the Soviet period, Russia achieved significant success in creating an effective healthcare system, which – in conjunction with the overall increase (in comparison with the pre-revolutionary State) of the standard of living, literacy and socio-hygienic culture of the population – had a significant and positive impact on the dynamics of mortality. In this process, the Soviet concept of public health development was of particular importance, as it was focused upon mass prevention of infectious and epidemic diseases, through the vaccination and immunization of the entire population. As a result, a country that had experienced many shocks throughout the 20th century, successfully reached the average European level of life expectancy (about 70 years old) by the 1960’s. The Soviet idea of a NHS system unfolded logically over decades, and permeated every aspect of Soviet life. Even by the late 1930’s and early 1940’s it was clear that this service delivered ‘free’ at the point of use was highly effective for the entirety of society. Although between 27 – 40 million men, women and children were either killed or wounded during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945), and considering the material destruction caused by the invading Nazi German war machine, the Soviet NHS, with its focus of particular resources to specific areas of the population and the country, the USSR recovered remarkably quickly.

In the old days, before the rise of Blairite ‘New’ Labour, many Labour members held Socialist viewpoints and were impressed by what the Soviet Union had achieved. It is obvious that the Labour Government of 1945 copied the Soviet healthcare system and tailored it to function throughout the British isles.  Therefore, it must be historically acknowledged that it was the Communist Party of the Soviet Union that devised and applied the principles through which the British NHS functions. It is a remarkable achievement that the British Labour Party managed to apply a Communist healthcare system to a bourgeois, capitalist State, and that the NHS has lasted as long as it has. It may be also stated with truth that the Tory (and LibDems) policy of getting rid of the NHS is inevitable within a bourgeois, capitalist State. The Communist Party of Britain (CPB) fully supports the NHS because the NHS is a ‘Socialist’ healthcare system that benefits the and empowers the collective population. The NHS may well function within a bourgeois, capitalist society, but the fact remains that its idea is entirely ‘Communist’ in origin. This does not mean that everyone who works in the NHS is a Socialist or Communist, far from it, but whatever their political views, up until fairly lately their interaction with the general public has been one of preserving the general health and relieving suffering. Lifting up the people and relieving their suffering are two foundational points of Communist thinking.

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