Since the creation of the NHS in 1948, it has been a treasured institution to generations of people in our country.
Staff do an outstanding job and care deeply about the service which they deliver, often in very difficult circumstances. But they face an impossible task thanks to changes and cuts made by this government.
Waiting times are going up, services are being closed, there are shortages of staff and patients are struggling to get appointments with their GP. Meanwhile, delays at A&E are commonplace, while cuts in funding to social services and money wasted on a re-organisation have seen extra pressure in our communities.
That is why it is so important that our NHS is front and centre in next year’s election.
The UKIP leader, Nigel Farage said he agreed with charging for visits to the GP and to A&E when it was suggested by his party’s health spokesman. Meanwhile, the UKIP deputy leader, Paul Nuttal published a letter on his website saying he thought that the Conservatives had made a good start by privatising our NHS and he wanted to go further.
The Health and Social Care Act was passed by the coalition government and has seen private firms taking over the majority of contracts, which have been renewed in the NHS since the act was passed. Hospitals can charge private patients for up to half of the beds at their hospitals, which will leave less of an NHS available for the majority of people.
We are moving towards an American style health system where private companies make profits on the money that should be spent on patient care and yet this is what the Conservatives want, with the support of the Lib Dems, while UKIP wants them to go further.
On November 21, MPs will vote on a Private Members' Bill to amend the Health and Social Care Act.
This bill is being put forward by my Labour colleague, Clive Efford and is an attempt to stop the worst effects of the Health and Social Care Act, especially by stopping the wholesale privatisation of our NHS.
The bill can only amend the existing law. It will take a new government to scrap the Health and Social Care Act altogether and that is why next year’s election is so important for our NHS.
Labour will scrap the Health and Social Care Act if we win the election.
We can already see from the problems at our GP practices, from delays at A&E and from closures of departments like the breast cancer care service at Southport and Ormskirk Hospitals just how much of a threat exists towards our NHS.
NHS staff are doing all they can for our NHS.
We all need to support them and that is why I want to hear from you about how we can make our NHS better. So please email me firstname.lastname@example.org with your experiences.
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