A few weeks ago the NHS celebrated a significant milestone – it’s 65th Birthday. It’s a fantastic achievement and made me prouder than ever to be a member of the party which created our health service.
Our health service has a special significance for me. During my time as a community worker in London I was shot during a violent attack by local criminal gang members. Fortunately, thanks to the fast response of the ambulance service and the excellent treatment by surgeons, I made a full recovery. Like so many people in our country I know the importance of the NHS because it has quite literally saved my life. It’s because of this experience that I’m a passionate defender of a healthcare service for all, free at the point of delivery.
That’s I’m proud of what the last Labour Government did. We invested record amounts of funding, recruiting 89,000 new nurses, 44,000 new doctors and opening 118 new hospitals. The results of this were clear: the shortest waiting times in history and patient satisfaction levels at an all time high – a high quality health service provided on the basis of need, not ability to pay.
These achievements are even more remarkable when you think about the NHS we inherited from the Tories in 1997. Back then the system was close to collapse, with crumbling hospitals and hundreds of thousands of people forced to wait over six months for treatment.
Unfortunately right now it looks as if history is repeating itself. David Cameron has broken his promise to protect our health service. Instead since the election there has been £3bn wasted on a needless top down reorganisation, 4,000 nurses have been cut and A&E is in crisis.
That’s why to mark the NHS’ 65th I helped to organise a street stall here in Enfield Southgate, collecting signatures for a petition against what the Government is doing to our NHS. Unlike the Tories who want to dismantle the NHS Labour wants to create a joined up health service, with the needs of patients at the heart of it. You can find out more about our plans for whole person care and take part in our policy review here.