A big thank you from me to the wonderful staff who work in our NHS.
I visited Aintree Hospital Fracture Clinic as a patient after snapping my Achilles tendon playing in a charity football match.
The consultation was quick, and I was quickly put in plaster and sent home. The support so far from everyone has been first rate and as one constituent said on Twitter, all without any cash changing hands.
My hope is that my experience is matched by that of everyone else who uses our NHS.
My concern remains that the money spent on the re-organisation of the health service will mean less for patient care, which in turn will mean longer waiting times and poorer treatment unless people are prepared to pay.
A number of constituents have approached me after long waits at A&E and it worries me that not everyone has been as lucky as me. The staff who looked after me did a great job and I can’t thank them enough.
And I will continue to fight to keep our NHS as the best in the world and to oppose any attempts to cut the service we have in this country or to undermine the fantastic staff and the work they do.
The economic situation is worse than feared as the recession is deeper than predicted. The long term debt is a concern to everyone, quite rightly and this is the figure which has continued to go up over the last two years despite the coalition government’s sharp cuts in spending.
The reason for the increase in the debt is that the economy has shrunk, so less tax is being collected and more is being paid out in unemployment benefits as people have lost their jobs because of the economic crisis getting worse.
When Labour left office in May 2010, the economy was growing. Since then the economy has stalled and now is in recession. The debt has grown because we still have a deficit. The cuts have not helped cut the debt and all they have done is put us back into recession and throw lots of people out of work.
For young people things are especially grim with long term unemployment for young people especially high.
When David Cameron, Nick Clegg and George Osborne took over in May 2010 they asked us to judge them on how quickly they paid off our debt. When you are deciding on how well you think the coalition is doing, just consider the increase in debt since then in countries across Europe. Only Spain, Ireland and Portugal have seen bigger increases in their levels of debt than in Britain. Everyone else has seen a smaller rise is debt levels or a fall in the level of debt.
Even in Greece, where the focus of international attention has been so strong, the debt has only gone up by 16%, less than the 19% in this country. Those countries which have made the deepest cuts include Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Britain and those are the countries where the debt has gone up most and where unemployment has gone up most.
The Tories and Lib Dems have presided over a recession and increased the level of debt by more than the increase in Greece.
The coalition government made cuts that were too deep and the majority of people in this country are paying the price for the mistakes made by the Tories and Lib Dems. It’s time they changed course before it’s too late.