Wednesday 28 March 2012

NHS debate last night

At last night’s full Council meeting Labour’s out-of-date (& copied from another authority) NHS motion brought out some home truths.  My colleague Cllr Dave Luckett spoke powerfully, raising facts Labour tried hard to ignore:

"We will be judged on our record on the NHS.
·        We promised to increase spending on the NHS and we are boosting spending on the NHS
·        Since the election we have however made cuts in the NHS, yes we’ve cut £4.5 billion of bureaucracy and ploughed it straight back into patient care. The amount of bureaucrats is down by 5,000, but the number of doctors has gone up by 4,000
·        In-patient and out-patient waiting times are lower than they were at the election
·        We promised extra money for cancer drugs, so far 10,000 people have got extra drugs through that fund
·        We have an 100,000 extra patients treated every month
·        The number of people who are in mixed-sex wards down 94%
·        Hospital acquired infections down their lowest ever level

This is happening not through sticking to the past, it’s through reform as well as extra money.
We saw in the past what happened under Labour – spending £6 billion on the failed NHS computer system, £250 million on private sector operations that were never carried out. The most shocking of all a private finance initiative that we are still tied into that charges parts of the NHS £300 for a person to change a light bulb. That’s right £300! I had to double and triple check that figure.

Labour will no doubt come back and say they’ve changed, they’ve learnt their lessons, but we only have to look at the one part is already run by Labour, in Wales. Labour has cut the money, and waiting lists have gone up with over a third of people waiting longer than 18 weeks.

I know which I’d prefer, I care passionately about the NHS, I will fight for it to be the best it can and I know our Prime Minister feels the same way."

Lib Dem Cllr Daisy Benson raised Manchester’s proposed charge for drunk people admitted into A&E which had been in the press earlier in the day [an ill-conceived, abhorrent proposal by Labour-run Manchester in my opinion].  In response after pondering the news, Labour’s Cllr Bet Tickner showed her party’s true colours saying “well it is expensive”...without voicing any disapproval whatsoever.  So much for Labour’s false criticisms of Government policy…

The alarming truth is Labour is not fussed about keeping the fundamental principle: that the National Health must remain free at the point of service!