Patients are paying the price for 13 years of Conservative mismanagement of the NHS.
Yesterday, my colleague Wes Streeting MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, made a scathing assessment of the Conservative Government’s record with our NHS.
Seven million people in England are waiting months – even years - for treatment, often preventing them from being able to work or live their lives to the full.
Nobody should have to pause their lives because it is impossible to get a GP appointment or an operation when they need one.
Meanwhile, delays in A&E are costing lives, and in an emergency, there’s no guarantee an ambulance will arrive on time - if one arrives at all.
The Conservatives have blamed the pandemic, the weather, and now even NHS staff. But we know that winter crises and bed shortages began way before the pandemic.
Successive Prime Ministers have been warned about the pressures the NHS is facing – this winter, Rishi Sunak has kept his head in the sand.
The longer the Conservatives are in power, the longer patients will have to wait.
Labour has begun drawing up our alternative to the Tories’ sticking-plaster politics, to tackle the root cause of this crisis, which is ultimately staffing levels.
We need to ensure a new generation of doctors, nurses and midwives are trained so that patients can be treated on time again. We’d pull every lever to get patients treated sooner in the short term by dealing with delayed discharges by improving pay, terms and conditions for carers and fixing doctors’ pension rules, but we’d also recognise the need to reverse cuts to medical school places.
Labour would double the number of medical school places, train 10,000 extra nurses and midwives every year, double the number of district nurses qualifying each year and create 5,000 more health visitors.
We’d pay for this by closing the non-dom tax status loophole, which the Conservatives refuse to do, because patients need treatment more than the wealthiest need a tax break.
More doctors, more nurses, shorter waiting times, better care: Labour will undertake one of the biggest expansions of the NHS workforce in history.
That’s the difference a Labour government will make.