My wife works for the NHS, it saved my life when I had cancer as a child and it gave outstanding care to my Dad when he was dying of Alzheimer’s. The NHS isn’t perfect, but the principle - that if you get sick or hurt you don’t have to worry whether you can afford treatment - is one of the best things about this country.
My Labour opponent says Labour will save the NHS, implying that it is in imminent danger. Here are some facts:
This Government has increased the NHS budget by more than the rate of inflation every year - just as it promised to do. Labour opposed this policy back in 2010 - their health spokesman Andy Burnham called it “irresponsible” . The only place where the NHS budget has been cut is in Wales - by the Labour-run Welsh Executive.
If we win this election, we will continue to increase the NHS budget by more than inflation every year. But we can only promise to do this because we have turned our economy around. Look at what’s happened to health spending in countries which haven’t tackled their deficit - in Greece it has been cut by 14 per cent, in Portugal by 17 per cent. Labour’s plans for more borrowing are the biggest threat to our NHS.
We’ve also reformed the NHS to try to make sure more of the money goes to the frontline. As a result, there are almost 20,000 fewer administrators - but nearly 9,500 more doctors, over 6,900 more nurses, more than 2,100 more midwives and over 1,800 more paramedics.
On average, 3,200 more in-patients and 16,700 more out-patients are treated each day than when Labour left office in 2010.
Fewer people are waiting longer than 18, 26 and 52 weeks to start treatment than at any time under the last Labour Government.
The number of patients experiencing the indignity of mixed-sex wards has fallen from 11,802 at the end of 2010 to 225 this February.
Hospital infections have been virtually halved since 2010.
Cancer survival rates never been higher. The Cancer Drugs Fund that we introduced to ensure people got access to life-saving drugs has helped 61,000 people.
From next April, we are introducing the first waiting time standards for mental health treatments so no one should have to wait longer than 18 weeks for talking therapies. The Chancellor announced an extra £1.25 billion for mental health in the recent Budget.
We’re changing the culture of the NHS so that it is open about the quality of care rather than trying to cover things up as happened in Mid Staffordshire and elsewhere under Labour.
The percentage of NHS services being delivered by private companies or charities has increased from 5 per cent under Labour to 6 per cent today, but contrary to what Labour would have you believe the rate of increase has actually slowed.
Of course, things aren’t perfect - in particular, too many of my constituents have to wait too long for a GP appointment. But the NHS has improved under this Government and it is performing far better in England under this Government than in Wales under Labour control.