Labour’s record on the NHS beats the Tories’ hands down

November 10, 2009 9:52 pm

UK NHSBy Chris Williamson

Labour has today launched a consultation on new patient rights to be contained within the NHS Constitution. The various proposals include a new right to be treated within 18 weeks – or seen by a cancer specialist within a week – and an interim milestone of two weeks. It also proposes a new right to be offered an NHS Health Check every five years for everyone aged 40-74.

When Labour came to power in 1997 the NHS had been brought to its knees by 18 years of chronic under-funding by the Tories. Massive waiting lists for operations were commonplace, even for cancer patients.

Labour’s consultation process outlines the next steps along the road to making further and significant improvements in the NHS with new patient rights including more convenient access to GP services.

Labour has fought hard to make things better for patients. We mustn’t allow the Conservatives to take us backwards, which is precisely what would happen if they won the next general election. David Cameron’s warm words about his love for the NHS are meaningless; he’s on record last year, for example, saying he thinks Labour’s NHS targets to cut cancer waiting times are wrong.

Let’s just look at what the Tories actually did when they were last in power, compared with Labour’s record since 1997:

* Between 1979 and 1997 the number of people on NHS waiting lists went up by more than 400,000, but since Labour has been in power the number has fallen by almost 600,000.

* In 1997, 284,000 patients were waiting for over six month for treatment. Today, the NHS is delivering the shortest waits on record with the average wait for inpatient treatment running at 4.5 weeks. Waiting times in my city of Derby are among the lowest in the country.

* Two million more operations are carried out each year than in 1997 – including more than double the number of heart operations.

* More than 89,000 extra nurses and over 44,000 doctors have been recruited since 1997.

* There weren’t any NHS walk-in centres in 1997 – today there are 90 around the country including one in Derby.

Like motherhood and apple pie, the Tories say they would like to see waiting times go down, but in the next breath they say governments shouldn’t set mandates or tie the hands of the medical profession with top-down targets. This is further evidence that the Tories haven’t changed and the truth is that they cannot be trusted with the NHS.

Comments are closed

Latest

  • Comment Labour shouldn’t offer cosmetic solutions for our education system

    Labour shouldn’t offer cosmetic solutions for our education system

    Until told otherwise I am going to assume that all teachers have a deep and noble interest in the education of children and young people in Britain. There is, then, no need for them to put their hand on their heart or a bible or a framed photograph of Nicky Morgan and swear an oath to education. I mean how would that go exactly? “I solemnly swear that I absolutely have not fallen into teaching because it’s guaranteed work and […]

    Read more →
  • News Labour MP receives vile anti-semitic messages

    Labour MP receives vile anti-semitic messages

    The Jewish Chronicle have reported that Luciana Berger MP and Louise Ellman MP have been subjected to anti-semitic tweets. Following the conviction of Garron Helm, who sent anti-semitic messages to Berger on Twitter – last night she faced further verbal online abuse. Messages sent to Berger included one that used the ‘jude’ – which in German means Jew. Another read “Only two places for Jews. The desert or in hell with their father the devil. #ExpelLucianaBerger” Berger has not responded to these […]

    Read more →
  • News George Osborne doesn’t accept living standards are falling

    George Osborne doesn’t accept living standards are falling

    Here’s one for the “what was he thinking?” files. George Osborne was interviewed by ITV news about today’s growth figures, yet when Economics Editor Richard Edgar noted that living standards are falling as wages have fallen behind inflation, the Chancellor disagreed with that fact, saying “I don’t accept that.” Here’s Elgar’s tweet: Living standards have fallen since 2010. So why won’t the Chancellor accept that? Is it because it punches a hole in his narrative about the British economy…?

    Read more →
  • Comment Europe Farage has chosen to cosy up with the sort of political party that makes most of us feel sick

    Farage has chosen to cosy up with the sort of political party that makes most of us feel sick

    Why do so many of us go canvassing and door-knocking in the rain? Or give up evenings and weekends for the Labour Party when we could be anywhere else. There’s always a candidate to support or a campaign to be won. But ultimately it’s about more than that – it’s about fighting for our values. We all get into politics to argue for what we think is right and to change our world bit by bit, day by day for […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Scotland What should Scottish Labour do?

    What should Scottish Labour do?

    There is much talk in the Scottish media about a crisis in Scottish Labour. Some of it is of course froth (is the Scottish Daily Mail where we would seek advice in our best interest?). But some of it is substantial – based on the post-poll evidence, anything between 30-40% of Labour voters voted Yes in the referendum. The angst is also heightened by the surge in SNP membership to nearly 80,000, making them the third largest political party in […]

    Read more →