We entrust ourselves to the care of our National Health Service at some of the most vulnerable, poignant and important moments in our lives.
That’s why I was proud to join the People’s March for the NHS on the Nottingham leg of its 300-mile journey to Downing Street, led by a small group of Darlington mums with a simple message: “Hands off our NHS!”
It’s a message the Government needs to hear because, by opening our NHS up to market forces, they are undermining a national institution. Patients are finding it harder to see their GP, waiting over four hours in A&E and waiting longer for hospital treatment. Ambulance response times are rising and there are fewer frontline staff.
Why? Because David Cameron broke his pre-election promise to health workers and forced through an unnecessary top-down reorganisation, wasting £3 billion that could and should have been used to improve patient care.
Meeting the needs of all citizens, free at the point of delivery and openly available according to need, not wealth -; these founding principles have defined the NHS since Labour established it in 1948. That’s why I’m so angry about the changes introduced since 2010 which undermine those values and began the dismantling of the health service as we know it.
The Government says privatisation will make things more efficient, but people in Nottingham are seeing the real impact.
My 84-year-old constituent Jean needs four hours of dialysis three times a week.
Since a private company took over patient transport, she’s been late for appointments and waited for hours to be taken home. Such poor service has a knock-on impact on other patients: our city’s hospitals and the clinical commissioning group tell me that Jean’s experience is typical of feedback.
That’s not the NHS I want for me, my family or for Nottingham. That’s why I support Labour’s promise to repeal the Health and Social Care Act and halt David Cameron’s deeply damaging privatisation of the NHS.