Tuesday, 21 April 2015

An NHS with the time to care

This week I met with representatives of 38 degrees and publicly pledged to call a halt on the Tory privatisation agenda.

The pledge comes ahead of a planned day of action this Saturday, 25th April by 38 degrees supporters across the country who will be organising local high street ‘Save our NHS’ petitions. 38 degrees will be reminding people that our NHS is a precious, life-saving service - and asking them to join in saying no to cuts and privatisation.

If re-elected I will vote in Parliament alongside Labour MPs to end the Tory privatisation agenda, commit funding to improve NHS staffing levels and will support the exclusion of the NHS from the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP).

The Health and Social Care Act of 2012 put in place by the Conservatives and their Lib Dem partners has opened the way for a mass privatisation of the NHS. The policy of the Labour Party is to repeal the Act and in particular to remove the elements that support privatisation. More than that, we wish to get rid of the market in health care and use the savings from ending much of the commercial contracting processes to fund better health and social care for our population.

The Labour Party manifesto commits to improving the staffing levels in the NHS by employing 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more general practitioners and 3,000 more midwives. The funding for this will come from a mansion tax, a levy on the tobacco companies and by tackling tax avoidance. We will also generate substantial savings by merging health and social care, thus creating a more efficient and integrated service.

The NHS, one of our great national institutions and one of Labour’s proudest achievements, faces its greatest threat for a generation. Labour will rescue our NHS, invest in its future and join up services from home to hospital.

David Cameron embarked on a reckless re-organisation of the NHS at a cost of £3billion. Already a third of contracts have been awarded to the private sector and waiting times at A&E are routinely missed.

But we have also seen the local cost of a failed Tory NHS as plans for new primary care facilities at Ashton and Orrell have stalled under the weight of the re-organisation that nobody voted for but which was pushed through parliament by the Tories supported by the Lib Dems.

Labour has a better plan for the NHS. More nurses and doctors, more home care workers to help people stay at home and the NHS as the preferred provider of health services.

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