To Ed Miliband, Leader of the Opposition

To Ed Miliband, Leader of the Opposition

Rt Hon Ed Miliband, MP
Leader of the Opposition

June 7, 2013

Dear Mr Miliband

We send you a copy of a letter we sent to the Secretary of State for Health on the nomination of Mary Seacole as one of four “health care pioneers” to be honoured in new leadership awards, with concern that Florence Nightingale, who clearly was a health care pioneer, was omitted.

You, as Labour leader, should be particularly mystified, for it was Nightingale who, in 1864, articulated the vision of quality care for all, including those unable to pay for it, and worked assiduously to raise the standard of care in the worst hospitals, the dreaded workhouse infirmaries, where the poorest were forced to go. She fits in well with Aneurin Bevan, who realized this vision with the launching of the National Health Service in 1948. Mary Seacole, a perfectly decent and generous businesswoman, did nothing on health care! (Do tell us if we are wrong on this.)

The according of Nightingale’s work to Seacole is a mistake made by both Labour and Conservative MPs, and, we suspect, by officials in the Department of Health. We append a Timeline comparing the work of the two women, wondering how anyone could mistake who was the health care pioneer.

We would appreciate your circulating this material to MPs in your caucus.

Yours sincerely

Copy: letter to Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, PC, MP, Secretary of State for Health, May 20, 2013