This month, we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service.
It is a remarkable achievement, all the more so when you consider that Great Britain had come through a devastating world war, and the Labour Government had few resources to spare.
And yet, those Labour ministers decided that the people’s health was the greatest priority,
and they created a radical socialist institution, unique in the world.
It would provide quality healthcare, free at the point of need, and available to all regardless of status or income.
It would be available to all of us, and paid for by all of us, through our taxes.
Its architect was the Labour Secretary of State Aneurin Bevan, and he called the new NHS ‘the most civilised thing in the world.’
Over the next 70 years, the NHS has become the nation’s favourite institution.
Its doctors and nurses are our national heroes.
And not just doctors and nurses, but cleaners, drivers, porters, cooks, radiographers, pharmacists, mental health workers, managers and everyone who works in our NHS.
They come from all over the world, and work to make Britain healthy and well.
Every single one of us has a story to tell about the NHS.
Many of us have had our lives saved by the wonderful staff of the NHS.
My story is that when I stood up to local drugs gangs, they tried to stop my campaign by shooting me.
I was shot and rushed to hospital, andsaved thanks to the skill and dedication of NHS staff.
So this July, let’s all give a vote of thanks to the NHS.
But the NHS is under threat. It has been starved of cash over the past 8 years. Too
much of our money is going to private contractors.
As a society, we are getting older. There are more demands for social care.
We are facing a crisis in mental health services.
Our A&Es are stretched to breaking point.
The NHS winter crisis is becoming a year-round crisis.
That’s why the next Labour Government will properly fund the NHS and put people before profits.
We will recruit the doctors, nurses and other staff we need.
Labour will ensure that everyone is treated within 18 weeks,
and get 1 million people off waiting lists.
We will enforce a 4-hour maximum wait in A&E.
We will introduce a new social care service,
and invest in new mental health services.
And we will introduce free car parking in the NHS for everyone – patients, families and staff.
Labour is the party of the NHS. We created it and we will always protect it.
I am always happy to hear your views about local services. Please do get in touch.