‘The NHS is not safe in the hands of any Conservative Government’ said Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care adding ‘The NHS funding crisis gets worse day by day but a recent suggestion that people should pay a daily fee for NHS hospital stays, added to the prospect of a charge for a visit to your GP, would be the end of the NHS’

Professor Stephen Smith (former boss of the East Kent Hospital Trust) suggests in his new book that you should pay a fee of £8 a day for hospital stays (up to 28 days a year) and pay a fine if you miss an appointment. This follows a warning from Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, that family doctor services are so hard-pressed patients might need to start paying to see their GP.

Councillor Brownridge added ‘It is a founding principle of the NHS, set up by a Labour Government, that healthcare is paid for by general taxation and is free when you need it. Before the NHS people only got the healthcare they could afford to pay for – many of us just went without – and we will fight to make sure we don’t go back to the 1930s’

A recent cross-party report from the House of Commons health and social care select committee outlined the staffing crisis in the NHS with estimates from the Nuffield Trust that there are 50,000 nursing and 12,000 doctor vacancies in the NHS. The report says the NHS faces ‘the greatest workforce crisis’ since it was founded and this now ‘poses a serious risk to patient safety, both for routine and emergency care.’ The Government missed a spring deadline to produce an outline NHS Staffing Plan and voted down an attempt to pass a law to require a Workforce Plan for the NHS.

Councillor Brownridge added ‘This Tory Government has no plan to save our NHS. They are running down the NHS to make charging for basic services look like a solution.

‘The two Tory Leadership hopefuls are equally hopeless. Rishi Sunak knows there is a crisis but has no idea what to do even though as Chancellor he held the purse strings. Liz Truss wants to scrap the 1.25% NI rise she voted for but hasn’t said what she would do instead and how the NHS will pay for the care we need. Labour set up the NHS and Labour has shown time and time again we are the party who will defend it. Every time Labour wins power, we have to fix the mess the Tories leave behind in the NHS but it looks like they’ve outdone themselves this time.’

Councillor Barbara Brownridge
Councillor Barbara Brownridge
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