In Westminster, Shadow Health Minister, Andrew Gwynne MP, has helped to launch ‘NHS pledge’ – a five-point practical attempt to limit the damage of the NHS reorganisation.
Photographed: Andrew Gwynne MP and Jonathan Reynolds MP, with Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham MP and Tameside Councillor, Lynn Travis.
At the event he joined with local Labour Councillors, who will act as patient champions and the last line of defence for Tameside’s NHS, calling on local health leaders to:
- Protect NHS founding values
- Prevent postcode lotteries
- Guard against longer waits
- Promote collaboration over competition
- Put patients before profits
Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“I fully support the launch of the NHS Pledge today at Westminster as it will offer a last line of defence for our local health service. I asked our local NHS leaders to adopt five principles to protect the NHS from the worst that David Cameron throws at it. Labour will not sit back and wait for things to go wrong in our NHS – it is far too important for that.
“By joining forces with health professionals at local level, we can resist the drive towards the rationing of treatment and the encroachment of charges we are starting to see in our NHS. The Tory-led Government’s NHS re-organisation is already causing real harm to patients in our area. Longer waits for operations and chaos in A&E has returned, operations and treatments restricted as the postcode lottery gets worse and thousands of nursing jobs are axed.”
Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said:
“I am very proud to be launching the NHS pledge in Parliament today. It will be an invaluable way of showing how Labour Mayors and Labour Councils can make a positive difference to local health provision and defend the things that matter in our NHS.”
“People are particularly angry about what’s happening to our NHS and believe that David Cameron has betrayed them. Before the election he promised no more top-down NHS re-organisations but brought forward the biggest ever, taking £3.45bn away from the frontline and running unforgivable risks with patient safety. The NHS Pledge will show where Labour Councils are making a difference.”
Notes to Editors
Labour’s five-point ‘NHS pledge’
1. Protecting an NHS free for all, resisting the encroachment of charges and unwarranted restrictions based on lifestyle choices. In some areas, some patients are routinely being denied treatment based on their weight or whether they smoke. These things are wrong and we will speak out against them.
2. Preventing a postcode lottery. The Government’s Health Act has laid the ground for a postcode lottery writ large. Already, patients in some areas are being denied routine treatments, such as for varicose veins, that are available on the NHS elsewhere. We will ask health professionals to work with others to maintain comparable access for all.
3. Maintaining Labour’s waiting standards for cancer, planned operations and in A&E. Since the Government relaxed Labour’s targets, there’s been a 25% increase in people who waited longer than 18 weeks for operations. They lowered our A&E target – and have missed it in 13 of the last 14 weeks.
4. Promoting collaboration over competition; preventing the market destabilising valued NHS hospitals and services. David Cameron wants hospitals to go into outright competition. Some valued hospitals are already threatened by this competitive free-for-all. Labour will call for a ‘one NHS’ approach in every community.
5. Putting patients before profits. There are already signs that financial incentives may mean NHS patients get sub-optimal care. Labour will always be vigilant in protecting patient choice and preventing profiteering.