The NHS faces its most perilous moment at the General Election which is now less than 100 days away. The choice will be between a Labour Government determined to protect our NHS, or a Tory Government that has presided over a devastating NHS crisis.
I know from speaking to local residents that people here in Hyndburn are worried about their local health service. The Tories have presided over an NHS crisis which has its roots in the Government's cuts to adult social care, the abolition of NHS Direct, the closure of almost one in four walk-in centres and its disastrous decision to throw the NHS into the chaos of reorganisation.
People expect more from their NHS, which is why Labour this week made its protection one of our key election pledges.
Labour will build an NHS with the time to care through 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs. We’ll also guarantee GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week. All of this will be paid for through fairer taxes on properties worth over £2 million, on hedge funds, and on tobacco companies. None of our manifesto commitments, including on the NHS, will require any extra borrowing.
The Time to Care fund will be used to train and hire thousands of NHS staff and deal with the Tory NHS crisis. But more work is needed if we are to transform our health service so it can meet the challenges of the 21st century.
Labour’s 10-year plan for the NHS, which was launched this week, will see services integrated from home to hospital to help end 15-minute adult social care slots. We’ll also back 5,000 new homecare workers to help those with the greatest needs, end the neglect of mental health and restore the right values to the NHS.
The NHS as we know it cannot survive another five years of David Cameron. This is especially true under his plans to shrink the size of the state to levels not seen since the 1930s, before there was a National Health Service.
That’s why in Parliament this week I voted against the Tories’ risky and extreme spending plans which would pose a real risk to the future of our NHS and the prospect of patients facing more charging under the Conservatives.
The truth is that only Labour can save the NHS. Our plan is a blueprint to raise standards of care and ensure our health service is sustainable in the 21st century, and is part of our wider plan to put hardworking families first, tackle the cost-of-living crisis, and earn our way to higher living standards for all.