The authoritative report from the independent health think tank the King's Fund was published in early February. It is a damning verdict on Mr Cameron’s stewardship of the NHS. It says that "historians will not be kind in their assessment of the coalition government’s record on NHS reform", and concludes that Mr Cameron's top-down reorganisation of the NHS "has been distracting and damaging", creating "complex and confusing" new bureaucratic structures.
Labour’ has a 10-year plan for the NHS. It is a blueprint to raise standards of care, and to ensure that the health service is sustainable in the 21st century. Labour will:-
- Spend more on the NHS and improve it, with 36,000 more doctors, nurses, midwives, and home-carers;
- Invest an extra £2.5 billion for more front-line medical staff;
- Guarantee that patients do not have to wait more than 48 hours for a GP appointment;
- Guarantee that patients do not have to wait more than a week for a cancer test;
- Repeal the Coalition government’s NHS changes which have put private profit before patient care.
When Mr Cameron broke his pre-election 2010 promise by instituting an unnecessary and wasteful £3 billion NHS reorganisation, Labour warned the government that this would damage the NHS. Alas, we were right. His plans were opposed by patients, nurses, doctors and midwives in their thousands – but he ploughed on regardless, and with the predicted disastrous outcome.
To the detriment of all of us, the Coalition government has failed on the NHS:
- There is a crisis in A&E – and it is getting worse, with hospital A&Es missing the four-hour waiting time target for 81 weeks in a row;
- Waiting lists for treatment are growing again – they’re at their highest level for six years;
- Under the last Labour government, the NHS seldom suffered a “winter crisis”, but now it has again become the annual event it was under Mrs Thatcher and Mr Major;
- It’s harder to get see a GP: one in four patients waits a week or more.
The sad truth is that, by turning the NHS upside down and causing a crisis in A&E, Mr Cameron has made care problems more likely, not less. We must rescue the NHS from Tory policies which have already caused crisis over the past five years – a crisis which will get far worse if the Tories be re-elected as government, with the NHS as we know it then ceasing to exist.
Rob Marris, Labour Candidate for Wolverhampton South West