The NHS has been put under unprecedented levels of pressure because of the failings of the government, and the problems in A&Es demonstrates the scale of the Tory NHS crisis we face.
Attendances at hospital A&E departments across the country increased by 600,000 in the first four years of the Tory-led government and it was recently revealed that only 7 out of 140 hospital A&Es hit the target to see 95 per cent of patients within four hours.
The Tory NHS crisis in A&E has its roots in the Government’s cuts to adult social care, the abolition of NHS Direct, the closure of almost one in four walk-in centres and its disastrous decision to throw the NHS into the chaos of reorganisation.
Rather than blaming patients, the time has come for Ministers to take responsibility for the crisis they have created in England’s hospitals. It is their failure to face up to those real causes that prevents them finding a proper solution.
The problem is clearer at Stepping Hill than almost anywhere else. At the beginning of January, just 59.3 per cent of people were seen in A&E in four hours or less. That has since risen to 75.2 per cent, and Stepping Hill is a hospital which has done more than most to try and solve some of the pressures, with GPs co-located at A&E and a superb ambulatory care unit to redirect elderly people away from the emergency department.
David Cameron promised he’d protect the NHS but his Tory NHS crisis proves you can’t trust the Conservatives with the NHS.
Last week in Parliament I voted to take action to save our NHS and deal with the Tory NHS crisis. Unfortunately we lost the vote thanks to Conservative MPs and a Prime Minister who refuses to take any responsibility, or even acknowledge that an NHS crisis exists.
Only Labour has the long-term plan to save and improve our local health service.
Firstly, we will invest in training and recruiting 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs to ensure that the NHS has the time to care for you and your family.
Secondly, we will ensure a binding waiting time guarantee to make sure everyone can get a GP appointment within a maximum of 48 hours. We will also guarantee that nobody will wait more than one week for a cancer test and result.
Thirdly, we will hire 5,000 more care-workers to join up services from home to hospital and ensure that the NHS is more efficient and care is better.
All of this will be paid for through fairer taxes on properties worth over £2 million, on hedge funds, and on tobacco companies. None of our manifesto commitments, including on the NHS, require any extra borrowing.
Building the NHS was one of our greatest achievements and we’re determined to protect it. Only a Labour government can ensure that the NHS will always be there for you and your family when you need it.
The simple fact is, if social care in England is allowed to collapse, it will drag down the rest of the NHS. That is what is unfolding before us in the NHS right now and is a root cause of the crisis in A&E.
For the sake of spending a few pounds in people’s homes on decent home care, we are spending thousands of pounds keeping older people in hospital even when they are able to leave.
This is not sustainable in human or financial terms. The increasing hospitalisation of older people is no vision for the ageing society.
Labour’s plan will lift the NHS out of this cycle, put the NHS on a sustainable path and give everyone who is concerned for its future a vision to unite around.
This week, Ed Miliband announced our direction of travel on the NHS in a speech in Sale. My colleague Andy Burnham fleshed it out with more detail in London. We have a ten year plan for our NHS.
I am confident that our plan is exactly what the NHS needs.
Post adapted from my articles in the Tameside Reporter & Stockport Express