I know from the emails and letters I receive that some of my constituents worry about this Government’s commitment to the NHS.
On a personal level, I could not be more committed to it. It saved my life when I had cancer as a child. Like any large organisation, it has its problems but the principle that underpins it - that if you get sick or have an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether you can afford to see a doctor - is one of the things that makes me most proud of this country.
And the Government from the Prime Minister down shares that commitment. The NHS is one of only three budgets (alongside the schools budget and the overseas aid budget) that we have protected from cuts. That doesn’t mean everything is fine and dandy - the NHS is having to cope with smaller annual increases than it is used to and with an ageing population and life-saving but expensive new treatments being discovered all the time costs are rising faster than inflation.
Nonetheless, as an email I received yesterday from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed, on seven key measures the NHS is continuing to improve. Here they are:
1. MRSA and C diff. infections at an all-time low.
2. Lowest ever numbers waiting 18, 26 and 52 weeks.
3. Mixed-sex accommodation down by 98%.
4. 800 more hospital nurses.
5. 1,400 more midwives.
6. 4,000 more doctors.
7. 23,200 fewer administrators.