Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Ed Miliband Speech on the NHS

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, in a speech in Trafford on the NHS, said:

In just 100 days’ time, you, your friends and neighbours will join with people all over Britain to decide our future as a country.
Will we be a country in which everyday working people can get ahead and have real hope for their children and the future?
Will we build a prosperity that extends from the City of London to kitchen tables across our country?
Or will we continue down the Conservative path, in which an ever-shrinking circle of people do well, while everyone else is forced to work harder and harder just to keep up with the bills and the weekly shop?
Today, I want to address one critical dimension of that choice, and that is the future of our NHS.
Because in this election the British people get to decide who you can trust with your healthcare and our National Health Service.
And today, I ask you to think hard about the choices on offer.
Our country’s most precious institution faces its most perilous moment in a generation.
A choice of two futures:
Continuing with a Conservative plan, which has already led to an NHS in crisis and which threatens the service as we know it.
Or a Labour plan to rescue our NHS, invest in its future and join up services from home to hospital.
That’s what we are fighting for in this general election.
That’s why I believe we need to elect a Labour government.
Think about what has happened to our NHS in five short years.
And the experiences people are having:
People in their 70s and even 80s, who have waited hour after hour for an ambulance to arrive, even when they’re in desperate need.
Patients stuck outside the hospital in ambulances because A&E is full.
Seriously ill people waiting for treatment lying on trolleys in corridors for hours.
People unable to get to see a GP, sometimes with queues round the block.
We never thought we would go back to those days.
But with less than five years of David Cameron we have.
We will hold him responsible for what has happened.
The British people will hold him responsible for what has happened.
People not just waiting longer in A&E.
Waiting longer to get your vital tests.
Waiting longer to get your operation.
Nearly half of the patient guarantees in the NHS Constitution now broken – from the right to start your cancer treatment within two months to the right to get your operation within 18 weeks.
And doctors, nurses, so many NHS staff, the heroes of our health service, rushed off their feet.
An NHS without enough time to care.
And of course this is a total betrayal of what David Cameron promised.
Just remember what he said at the last election and look at what has happened.
He promised “no more of those pointless re-organisations that aim for change but instead bring chaos”.
And then he spent billions on a top-down reorganisation that the NHS is still reeling from today.
The British people will hold him responsible for this broken promise.
He stood outside hospitals holding a sign promising “no cuts, no closures”.
And then closed the very same A&E department.
The British people will hold him responsible for this broken promise.
He said he would never allow us to go back to “those days when people had to wait for hours on end to be seen in Accident and Emergency.”
The British people will hold him responsible for this broken promise.
Promises matter.
And because of his broken promises, what tuition fees are for Nick Clegg, the NHS has become for David Cameron.
This is a question of trust.
And if this is what has happened in just five years of a Conservative government, we have a duty to point out what five more years of a Tory government would do to the NHS.
You don’t need to imagine it: you just need to look at the one clear manifesto commitment they have: public spending cut back to levels as a share of national income not seen since the 1930s.
Back to before the National Health Service even existed.
David Cameron says he cares about our NHS but that isn’t enough: there is no country that runs a world-class national healthcare service with spending like that.
And we know too they will press on with plans to fragment and privatise the NHS.
More focus on private patients.
More private contracts awarded.
More fragmentation of the service.
And all it means is you will wait longer and longer for care.
Forced to go private if you want timely treatment.
David Cameron just won’t put the right resources into our NHS and he puts the wrong values at the heart of our NHS.
When you look at his record for the last five years and his plan for the next five years, you know David Cameron can’t be trusted with our NHS.
That’s why the choice at this election matters so much.
That’s why we need a Labour government.
Britain needs a new plan for our National Health Service.
A plan not just to protect it but to improve it for years to come.
To make sure that we build an NHS that meets the challenges of the 21st century.
Later this morning, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham will be explaining our plan in detail.
The central idea is this: that we must both invest in the NHS so it has time to care and join up services at every stage from home to hospital, so you can get the care you need, where you need it.
That is the key principle to make our NHS sustainable and successful for years to come.
And I want to outline the fundamentals of that plan for you here today.
It starts with the need to invest.
And we are the only party whose plans are fully funded, costed and based on the right principle that those with the broadest shoulders should bear the greatest burden.
We will raise a billion pounds from tax avoidance, including by the hedge funds.
We will raise extra revenue from the tobacco companies.
And we will use the proceeds of a Mansion tax on properties worth over £2 million.
And we will use that money for a plan to train and hire more doctors, nurses, care-workers and midwives – so that they all have the one thing that patients need most: an NHS with time to care.
And this investment will not be for an NHS that stands still but one that keeps up with the challenges of our time.
Let me tell you what I have learnt most talking to people in the NHS.
The most important principle is that the success of what goes on inside a hospital depends on what goes on outside in the community.
When people can’t get to see their GP they end up in A&E, adding to the problems there.
When problems with mental health aren’t spotted early at school or work, they build up and people end up in hospital.
And most importantly of all, when elderly people can’t get the care they need at home, they are more likely to struggle, grow ill or have a fall.
In each and every case, failing to act early is worse for the person involved and it costs more for the NHS too.
So the most important principle of 21st century healthcare is that people get the care at the right time, in the right place.
And that is what we will do:
We will end the scandal of neglecting mental health by prioritising investment in young people and ensuring teachers are trained to spot problems early.
We will hire more doctors and by saving resources on privatisation and competition, we will end the scandal of patients having to wait days, even weeks, for a GP appointment.
We will use the resources we raise to hire 5,000 care-workers - a new arm of the NHS - to help elderly people stay healthy at home.
And because we will be putting in place one system of health and social care we will end the scandal of care visits restricted to 15 minutes.
If we are going to build an NHS that meets the challenges of the 21st Century – and sustain funding for it through this century - we cannot leave parents unable get a GP appointment for their sick child, or neglect mental health, or restrict social care visits for some of the most vulnerable to just 15 minutes.
We will end these scandals not just because they have no place in a world-class health service but also because no responsible government can afford to ignore them any longer.
And we can only meet this central challenge of the 21st century to join up these services when we have the right values at the heart of our NHS.
Care, compassion and co-operation.
Not competition, fragmentation and privatisation.
This government believes that by setting hospital against hospital, service against service, a creeping fragmentation and privatisation, that the NHS will get better.
But it’s failed.
If joining up services is the key challenge of 21st century healthcare, then the Tory solution cannot be the answer.
These are the wrong solutions and the wrong values.
These aren’t the values of our National Health Service.
These aren’t the values of this Labour Party.
These aren’t the values of the British people.
And we will put an end to these values when we repeal this government’s terrible Health and Social Care Act.
It is because we are determined to build an NHS fit for the future that we can announce our third election pledge here today.
If we win the general election in May, the next Labour government will:
Build an NHS with the time to care: 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs.
Join up services from home to hospital, guaranteeing GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week.
An NHS for our nation’s future.
Better for patients, better for staff, and better for all of us.
Here in Trafford we are just down the road from the first hospital to open as an NHS hospital when the service was founded in July 1948.
The first hospital to offer every citizen the best healthcare, based on need, not ability to pay.
We all have our own memories of the NHS.
The place our children were born; where we got better when we were sick; where our parents and grandparents were cared for when they got old.
But our NHS cannot just simply become a memory.
I believe this truth more than any other: the NHS wasn’t just the right principle for our grandparents’ generation, it is the right principle for our grandchildren’s generation too.
It fell to those after the Second World War to build the NHS.
It fell to Labour in 1997 to save it from years of neglect.
It now falls to us to protect and improve it once again.
To make it a service that can rise to the challenges of the 21st century.
To make it a service of which our children can rightfully be proud.
The future of our NHS is at stake in this general election.
Let’s go out and fight for it.
Let’s go out and rescue it for years to come.
Let’s rebuild our NHS for future generations.