I’ve made five key pledges for Newcastle North ahead of the General Election on 8th June, the third of which is that I will continue to stand up for our NHS and social care services. You can read more about this below.
Pledge 3 – Standing up for our NHS and social care services
But, speak to anyone who works on the frontline in our NHS today, and they’ll confirm that it’s at breaking point after seven years of Tory Government. And patients know this too because waiting times are up: for surgery, for treatment at A&E, an ambulance, mental health support, or to see a GP; whilst services and medicines are being rationed across England.
Meanwhile, hardworking NHS staff are increasingly being asked to do more with fewer resources, and that’s not fair – or safe – for them or their patients. And, in the sixth largest economy in the world, we now have nurses turning to foodbanks after years of NHS pay freezes.
And the pressures on our health service are being exacerbated after seven years of punitive Tory cuts to social care that have left the system in crisis, and far too many older and vulnerable people left without the vital care and support they need – or receiving 15-minute care visits from overworked and underpaid homecare staff.
It doesn’t have to be this way, and Labour is committed to investing in our NHS and social care system to give patients the modern, well-resourced services our country needs in the 21st century.
That means an NHS that guarantees treatment within 18 weeks to take one million people off NHS waiting lists. An NHS that guarantees people will be seen at A&E within 4 hours. An NHS that delivers the Cancer Strategy for England, helping 2.5million people living with cancer. An NHS which invests in children’s health with the ambition of making our children the healthiest in the world.
It also means an NHS which properly resources ambulance services – a critical issue for the North East, which has the lowest funded ambulance service of anywhere in the country. An NHS that ring-fences mental health budgets to ensure funding reaches the frontline, and invests in early intervention for children and young people affected by mental health issues. And an NHS in which staff are properly valued for the vital work they do.
Importantly, Labour will address the immediate funding crisis facing social care services after Tory cuts have seen £4.6billion lost from social care budgets since 2010 despite rising demand, whilst laying the foundations for a new National Care Service for England to properly integrate health and social care.
And these are all issues I’ve worked hard on over the last seven years as Newcastle North’s MP: fighting for properly funded NHS and social care services that prioritise frontline patient care; vigorously opposing costly and unnecessary reorganisations and encroaching privatisation; and campaigning for NHS and social care staff to be properly recognised for the vital work they do.
And I’ve worked closely with countless local and national charities to campaign for better treatment and support for people in Newcastle North, including for those affected by stroke, multiple sclerosis, cancer, diabetes, sight and hearing loss, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s, dementia, spinal and brain injury, mental health conditions, and those who need to access palliative care – to take just some examples – as well as fighting against the Conservatives’ damaging cuts to local community pharmacies.
Because I know from my postbag that the future of our NHS and social care services is one of the single biggest priorities for people across Newcastle North – and you have my word that it will always remain one of my top priorities if re-elected as your local MP.