Thanks to the six women from Darlington, nick named the Darlo Mums, who have led the 300 mile march to draw attention to the importance of the NHS. They have given the rest of us a vehicle to get on in order to demonstrate our passion and commitment towards the NHS and our opposition to the cuts and privatisation that is taking place up and down this country.
Joining them on their march in St Albans last week was very important. While Redditch might be far away, we have the same problems as many towns and cities around the country and we must stand together for the future of the NHS. It was an honour for us to meet with some of the founders and hear about their journey so far.
The last two years in Redditch we have been fighting for hospital services at the Alex, this has understandably taken the lion’s share of the debate in our town.
However, I am worried about many other parts of our health service that are quietly deteriorating thanks to reduced budgets, wasted resources, an increase of privatisation, which leads to fragmentation and the effects on staff morale which has resulted in staffing shortages and fears for patient safety.
I speak to people in Redditch who are waiting weeks for GP appointments, who need an ambulance but receive a car that cannot take them to hospital, who arrive at A&E and have to wait beyond four hours to be seen, who call out of hours and are never called back, elderly and vulnerable people who have home care visits reduced to a 15 minute call, outpatient appointments being cancelled time and time again, people who are in crisis with mental health not being dealt with and patients who have been diagnosed with cancer waiting 4 weeks and beyond to see a consultant.
Across this constituency and the country our NHS is being systematically attacked. We cannot take it for granted and if we do not stand up and defend it, I fear that soon we will have very little left to fight for. If I am elected in May to represent the Redditch constituency I will put NHS providers before private providers, vote to repeal the Health and Social Care Act and will not vote under any circumstances for any measures that would give the Secretary of State alone, powers to close hospitals where they are in deficit. In Redditch I know the importance of our local hospital and I will always fight for what is best for local people. I trust Labour with the NHS and these last four years have bolstered my belief that you cannot trust the Conservatives with the NHS. I hope you will vote Labour in May 2015.
“The NHS will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it”.
For more information http://999callfornhs.org.uk/