“This week has shown us that the NHS is on the brink. It is one thing to see this, & say what needs fixing, but we need a Labour government that will crack on & do it.”Matt Willgress
Five more years of the Tories means millions more living in pain and discomfort as they wait for operations writes Matt Willgress
As this election campaign has gone on, Labour has sought to draw attention to the impact of Tory austerity on our living standards and public services, whilst the Tories and Boris Johnson have sought to avoid scrutiny on this issue and deflect any discussion from how the continuation of austerity is ‘baked in’ to their manifesto.
Within this framework, the issue of the NHS has consistently come up in the election, not least this week when Boris Johnson was challenged to look at a shocking photo illustrating exactly what austerity has done to our NHS.
As part of the campaign this week, Labour revealed new analysis looking at the impact of what 5 more years of a Conservative Government will have on our NHS.
The analysis paints a stark picture and shows what the clear choice is at the election when it comes to the NHS.
To sum up, if the Tories win it will mean five more years of ballooning waiting lists, more patients languishing on trolleys in hospital corridors, and people with cancer enduring even longer waits for vital treatment.
Specifically, Labour’s analysis showed that with five more years of the Tories, waiting lists would be expected to reach 5.8 million by the end of 2024, up from 4.4 million in 2019 and 2.5 million in 2010, according to projections based on official data.
Alongside this, the number of people waiting more than two months for cancer treatment is projected to reach 47,554 in 2024. In 2010, just 13,357 waited more than two months for treatment.
Additionally, the number of people waiting more than 4 hours in A&E is projected to reach 448,525 a month in 2024, up on 320,034 in October 2019 and up on 41,231 in November 2010.
This is within a situation where NHS leaders have already warned this year that a lack of investment in facilities was impacting patient safety, and last month GPs warned that winter pressures were likely to have an impact on patient safety, and 9 out of 10 hospital bosses felt staffing pressures were putting patient’s health at risk.
The reason for these shocking figures is clear. As part of their failed, ideologically-driven austerity agenda the Tories have presided over almost a decade of underinvestment and mismanagement of our health service.
Moving forward, the Health Foundation – an independent healthcare organisation – have now said that the Tories’ offer on funding in this campaign is “below the amount needed to maintain current standards of care.”
This confirms exactly what Labour has been saying throughout this campaign, namely that five more years of a Tory Government threatens to leave even more people waiting longer for vital services, beyond current record levels, and could put the very existence of our National Health Service at risk.
This is especially the case when you consider that the Tories will continue the privatisation measures in the NHS which have caused so much damage and difficulties already in recent years, and the very real threat that they will open up our NHS for sale in search for a one-sided free-trade deal with Trump.
Risks linked to further privatisation of the NHS are very real.
To give just one recent and very real example, a Virgin Walk-In Centre at Coventry and Warwickshire Trust has had two cases resulting in patients dying. Here, a coroner subsequently recommended patients be assessed in 15 minutes, but that has not been implemented – apparently because Virgin’s contract does not clearly stipulate the 15 minute requirement. Virgin has been sent two performance notices but its contract has been extended.
But there is an alternative to the Tories’ agenda, and that is why people must vote for Labour and vote for our NHS today.
Labour is on the side of patients and staff, and will give the NHS the rescue plan it needs and bring waiting lists down to secure quality care for all.
As part of this, Labour has pledged a relentless focus on the NHS in its first 100 days in government, meaning that Labour will immediately undertake a full audit of the risks currently face the NHS, and prioritise capital spending – which Labour has already allocated – to ensure people and buildings are made safe.
Labour will also end privatisation in the NHS and make sure that is not open up to Trump. And Labour will ensure the extra funding we’ve promised is prioritised to keep patients and staff safe.
The news this week has shown us that the NHS is on the brink. It is one thing to see this, and say what needs fixing, but we need a Labour government that will crack on and do it.
Please help make it happen today.