Monday, 6 October 2014

The NHS Needs Saving - But From Who?

It never ceases to amaze me that political parties seem to 'own' certain areas of policy. The NHS is one of those areas which will be one of the key issues over the next seven months.

There is no escaping the fact that current opinion polls suggest that the public currently trust Labour the most on the NHS when all recent evidence should suggest the contary. For example, Labour have not one current MP with clinical experience. The Conservatives have Seven - five GP's and two nurses.

The main Labour attack line is 'the NHS is not safe in Tory hands' is often used to try and insinuate that a Conservative government would privatise the NHS, whilst conveniently forgetting that it was the last Labour government that brought private enterprise into the NHS.

To get an idea of what the NHS under a Labour government would be like you only have to look at Wales, where the NHS is a devolved power to the Welsh Assembly - currently under Labour control.

For the last four years they haven't hit an A&E target. Waiting times are up, waiting lists are up and quality is down too.

The last time the urgent cancer care treatment was met in Wales was 2008. There is no cancer drug fund and recent figures suggest that 14,000 Welsh cancer patients seek treatment in England every year because of Labour's NHS cuts. To top it off, the Welsh ambulance service has missed its call-out target since 2012.

Let's not forget the Sir Bruce Keogh report which uncovered failings at 11 hospitals under the last Labour government where thousands of patients needlessly died. Or Mid Staffs, the hospital where up to 1,200 died on filthy wards with patients begging for water and drinking out of vases.

Yet the Labour government operated culture of ‘cover-up’ where targets were more important than people and ministers’ reputations more important than care.

This is sadly, what we will get under Labour. Cuts to our NHS, longer waiting lists and all the problems we saw at Mid Staffs Hospital repeated all over again.

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