LABOUR HAS promised to spend an extra £37 billion on the NHS if it forms a government on 9th June. The Tories have promised no extra funding and are relying on their record: oh dear.
Labour says that £10 billion of the extra funding would be spent on capital projects such as upgrading IT systems (now that would have been useful last week) and repairing buildings (thus reducing ongoing maintenance costs). The Party is prepared to “borrow to invest” and this spend would save the NHS money in the longer term, so the Party says it is justified borrowing.
The Tories have responded by doubting that Labour could find the balance of £27 billion which the NHS needs in order to deliver the health services that are needed. That dismisses the financial cost of running the NHS: but are the Tories prepared to put up with the human cost of their proposals?
Over the last six years, during which time the Tories have been in government, spending on the NHS has grown – but inflation, above-inflation price rises in specialist goods and increased demand for services mean that funding has been cut in real terms. Very expensive PFI deals struck several years ago are also depleting NHS funds very quickly indeed – often for little return. Staff are now desperate, as various TV fly-on-the-wall programmes show.
The choice is stark: either increase funds, or increase waiting times and suffering. Labour wants to return to 18 weeks for treatment and four hours to be seen in A&E as the norms – figures which were established by the last Labour Government and breached by the Tories. Labour says that its extra funds will see around one million people taken off waiting lists.
The Labour policies were announced by Jeremy Corbyn during a speech to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) conference in Liverpool. The Labour Leader also promised to end cap on NHS pay which the Tories had imposed and to appoint an independent body to deal with pay increases in the future.
Tower Hamlets Keep Our NHS Public (THKONP) will be holding hustings on 23rd May so that the parties standing locally in the General Election can explain their policies on the NHS. The meeting will be from 6.30pm (doors open 6.15pm) to 8.15pm at the Osmani Centre, which is on the corner of Vallance and Underwood Roads.
The meeting will be chaired by Dr Jackie Applebee Turner, a local GP. There will be speakers on current topics within the NHS as well as General Election candidates Rushanara Ali (Labour), Elaine Bagshaw (Liberal Democrats), Charlotte Chirico (Conservatives) and Alistair Polson (Green Party).
THKONP will be leafleting in support of the meeting at Bethnal Green Tube station on Tuesday, 16th May and Tuesday 23rd May from 8-9am and on Wednesday 17th May from 5.45-7pm, and at Whitechapel Road Tube exit on Wednesday, 17th May from 8-9am. All help is welcome. The campaign can also provide leaflets for groups to use in their own areas. For more information, contact the campaign on: