September 23, 2014

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The NHS in England has run up a deficit of nearly £500m in the first few months of the financial year. 

The government blames the rising demand for services as waiting times are growing longer but the pressure at A&E and at our GP surgeries shows that there are growing problems. 

The re-organisation of the NHS, which no one voted for cost £3billion and that money would have been better spent on patient care and on social services to keep people at home and help them back home after going to hospital. 

It might also have gone some way towards helping people get an appointment with their GP, something people across the country are finding increasingly hard to do. It is now taking more than the target of two months for cancer patients to get their first treatment after an urgent referral and the 18 week target for routine surgery was missed in June and July, something my dad can confirm as his hip operation was cancelled only last week.

Foundation Trusts also showed a deficit as 86 of the 147 trusts were in the red. 

In short, the NHS in England is facing a crisis and we are at the end of summer. 

What will happen especially to frail older people and to the NHS if we have a really cold winter? 

The Conservatives with the full support of the Lib Dems pushed through the Health and Social Care Act. This allows any qualified provider to bid for contracts in the NHS. 

Private health companies have been winning the majority of contracts since the Act was passed in 2012. It also allows hospitals to let private patients use up to half of the beds, which means a massive privatisation of our NHS by any other name.

Only this week we heard of a patient dying in an ambulance, waiting in a queue outside a hospital because there were not enough spaces at A&E and because there were no spare beds at the hospital. 

Anyone who has visited Aintree Hospital will know just how hard it is for staff there to take patients who arrive by ambulance. 

Again this comes back to cuts made by the Tories and Lib Dems in social care and in parts of the NHS. There are shortages of nurses and GPs. Meanwhile we are told of a shortage of radiologists has caused the closure of the breast cancer care unit at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust.

The NHS is crying out for change. 

Those of you who rely on our NHS and on support from carers at home are crying out for help. 

Labour will reverse the Health and Social Care Act. We will ensure the NHS is the automatic preferred provider of NHS contracts and we will make sure you can get an appointment with your GP. 

Health and social care are too important to be left to private companies. The United State shows what goes wrong when that happens. 

In England, we need a full commitment to our NHS and to public services from our government. 

Labour will give that commitment.

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