“It is quite frankly insulting to dismiss the fact that people in the North East have a lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and worse health by talking about obesity and smoking”Kate Osborne MP
By Labour Outlook
During Health and Social Care Questions in parliament this week, Jarrow MP Kate Osborne called on the Government to scrap unfair prescription charges which are adding to the growing health inequalities between the North and South.
While Kate Osborne MP’s initial question was “What steps is he taking to tackle health inequalities?” Tory minister Neil O’Brien’s initial response only spoke about obesity and smoking, ignoring spiralling health inequality across the country.
Kate Osborne followed up her question stating that “the minister should be ashamed of that response, it is quite frankly insulting to dismiss the fact that people in the North East have a lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and worse health by talking about obesity and smoking – lazy stereotyping and blaming the people of the North East for this Governments failures and deliberate running down of our services.
“The minister’s response shows the contempt with which they hold our northern communities.”
Further to this, the Jarrow MP demanded more from the government minister stating that “people in the North East die younger than people in the rest of England, and spend more years in ill-health with increased NHS waiting times leaving many reliant on medication for longer.
“The North East has the highest level of people living in poverty, leaving many of my constituents unable to afford prescription charges, some have told me they are taking paracetamol instead of prescribed medication, all adding to worsening health inequalities. So will the Minister commit to scrapping unfair prescription charges”
Osborne went on to say that “the minister’s subsequent disgraceful response showed that this Government has no plans to tackle the real causes of health inequalities.
“This Government do not care about the chaos they are causing in our communities. They do not care that we are seeing people being made sicker by prescription charges, that we are seeing thousands of people hospitalised because of malnutrition, they do not care that the North East is the lowest paid region in the country, and quite frankly they do not care that we are dying younger than their wealthy Westminster cronies.
“This Tory government continues to neglect our Northern communities and it’s time they were held accountable for their actions.”
- Kate Osborne is the MP for Jarrow and a regular contributor to Labour Outlook. You can follow her on Facebook, twitter and Instagram.
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