One of the ways in which David Cameron has changed the Conservative Party for the better is in its attitude to the National Health Service. In the past, my party’s commitment to the NHS has sometimes seemed lukewarm. David Cameron has changed that.
The NHS isn’t perfect but the idea on which it is based – that when you fall ill, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether you can afford medical treatment – is one of the best things about this country. My family don’t have private medical insurance. If we fall sick, it is to the NHS we turn. And when I was diagnosed with cancer as a child, the NHS literally saved my life.
But all too often, the debate about the NHS focuses on structures, not on quality of care. The current Government was arguably guilty of that in its first 18 months. Of course, giving patients more choice and front-line clinicians more control is a means to improving care but we need to spend more time talking about the latter.
So I was delighted today to hear what the Prime Minister had to say about nursing and in particular the emphasis on reducing bureaucracy so that nurses can focus on caring for patients, making sure they are properly fed and hydrated and treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.