In this 70th birthday year of the National Health Service, the Government has recently announced an increase in NHS funding, writes Gloria De Piero MP.
And about time too.
After eight years of chronic under-funding, it’s hard to know where to start with the frightening array of information available.
There are 4.3 million people on waiting lists, nearly 27,000 people this year have waited more than 62 days for cancer treatment and there are 100,000 vacancies in the NHS, not helped by the Government’s decision to scrap the NHS bursary, which has seen a fall of a third in people training to be nurses.
NHS Trusts are £1 billion in deficit and A&E departments have seen their worst performance figures ever recorded.
In this area, some resources have been cut by almost half.
None of this is the fault of the hard-working staff of the NHS, who continue to do a brilliant job.
Prior to 2010, when Labour was last in Government, NHS funding rose by an average of four per cent per year.
The last eight years of Tory control has seen that average drop to 1.4 per cent.
The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies has said that after the budget cuts of the last eight years, the latest amount of cash promised is needed just to keep services running at the current level is just not acceptable.
In order to raise enough money, the NHS is being forced to turn to private, paying patients, allowing those with cash to jump the queue and making waiting times for those unable to pay even worse.
The new Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has a chance to show he is serious about improving the NHS but he hasn’t made a good start in refusing to commit to targets in the NHS Constitution.
Whilst the Tories’ new NHS cash is uncosted and below what’s needed, Labour’s plan is to give the NHS what it needs, and Labour has been honest about how this will be paid for – by increasing tax on the super-rich and making large corporations pay their fair share.
I will always fight for a system that is there to give everyone the best healthcare available, rich or poor.