Everyone, wherever they live, whatever they earn, should get healthcare free at the point of use.
That’s the founding promise of the NHS. That’s why the NHS is loved by the British people.
The last Labour government introduced a second promise: the NHS would always be there when needed.
After thirteen years of Conservative government, the first promise is under threat, the second is broken.
Despite the hard work of staff, we face the biggest crisis in the history of the NHS.
Long waits and deteriorating services weren’t tolerated under Labour. But today, they are the norm.
We’ve all heard the horror stories: agonising waits to see a GP, ambulances too late to save lives, dangerously long A&E queues, over 7 million on waiting lists.
My recent survey of constituents produced shocking results.
83% of respondents said they were very concerned by the NHS crisis. 89% thought services had worsened over the last thirteen years. Only 16% felt the government understood well the impact this is having.
This crisis is creating a two-tier system: creaking NHS care for those who can’t pay, timely care only for those with the money to go private.
People are desperate, being forced to pay for the services they need from mental health treatment to dentistry.
The system is at breaking point and the Conservatives have made clear that they do not care about the health of working people in this country.
Labour will grip the situation. We will get the basics right and take long-term, pragmatic, common sense steps.
That starts with giving the NHS the staff it needs, undertaking one of the biggest workforce expansions in history.
But we’ll go further. We can’t just get the NHS back on its feet, we must ensure it can never be pushed to the floor again.
The NHS faces a long-term sustainability challenge. The Tories today are pouring money into system of 1948, when the real need is to provide 21st Century care.
Rather than facing waves of crises, Labour will break the cycle.
We will work with the NHS to deliver a ten-year plan for reform and modernisation, to build new, solid, long-term foundations.
Labour created the NHS. Our values are the heart of the NHS. Only Labour can build an NHS fit for the future.