Thursday, 29 January 2015

My Letter To The Local Paper On The NHS

In his "In My View", Andrew Pope, the Labour PPC for New Forest East, writes about the NHS but forgets to mention the Mid Staffs scandal or the fact that in Wales, a devolved Labour administration is in charge of the NHS.

Mr Pope states that Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham - the man who was Health Secretary at the time of the Mid Staffs scandal - "has been showing again that the Conservatives cannot be trusted with the NHS". He might be aware that a ComRes poll a few days ago showed that more people trust David Cameron than Ed Miliband to ensure that the NHS has enough money, which is no surprise as the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition Government has ensured the NHS budget is ringfenced.

A recent British Social Attitudes survey shows that public satisfaction with the NHS is 65% in England. In Wales it is a much lower 51%, In December the House of Commons Library produced a study on the NHS in Wales - where it is run by Labour. When it comes to ambulances arriving within 8 minutes for "category A calls" (immediately life-threatening), it is 74.8% in England, compared to only 60% in Wales. With regards to the time interval between referral and treatment, in Wales 28% of people waiting for treatment had been waiting for more than 18 weeks, compared to 7% in England.

In England, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats provide a better NHS service than Labour does in Wales. Looking across Offa's Dyke, it is very hard to agree with Mr Pope's statement that "only Labour can be trusted to save the NHS and to improve local health services". Nye Bevan must be spinning in his grave at what Welsh Labour have done to his NHS.

Mr Pope assures us that Labour's plan for NHS investment is "fully costed", including, the "tax on properties worth more than £2m". In February 2013 Mr Miliband said that the "mansion tax" would be used to bring back to 10p tax rate. In September 2014, the Shadow Work & Pensions Secretary Rachel Reeves committed using the "mansion tax" instead to reducing the deficit. Now we learn it'll be for the NHS, rather than reducing the deficit or brining back to the 10p tax rate.

Next week, no doubt, Labour will be promising they will use the "mansion tax" to reduce class sizes, and the week after that they'll say they plan to use it to subsidise public transport.

It must be very exhausting for Labour candidates to keep up with what they are supposed to say the "mansion tax" will be used for.

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