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Diane Abbott: Vote Labour to Save Our NHS

Vote Labour to Save Our NHS

By Diane Abbott MP

One of the clearest issues at stake in the upcoming General Election will be the very future of our NHS, and the differences between Labour and the Tories on this issue couldn’t be clearer.

Tory austerity has meant that the NHS has been stretched to its limits this winter, with wards closed, operations cancelled and treatments delayed.

The government is driving through £22 billion in cuts by 2020. Alongside this, in a clear false economy, cuts to social care mean more and more patients languish in hospitals. There is a huge knock-on effect on the NHS, where each year more older people are finding themselves trapped in hospital, simply because there isn’t the care available for them.

Despite the amazing work of our NHS staff – so often demeaned, underappreciated and even demonised by Jeremy Hunt and this government – my constituents know that The Tories have pushed our health service to its limits.

The consequences of the Tories’ crisis in our NHS are very real and not a “small” number of incidents as Theresa May suggested in response to the Red Cross claiming a “humanitarian crisis” in the NHS earlier this Winter.

In fact, we have seen an unprecedented winter crisis, in which almost a thousand people waited over twelve hours on trolleys this January, compared to just 17 in January 2011. The Government seems content with a 504 per cent increase in the number of patients waiting over four hours for admission since January 2011.

A&E diverts (where patients are sent to other hospitals for treatment) were 86 per cent up on last winter. Urgent operations are now being cancelled in record numbers – 4,093 in 2016, up 27 per cent in just two years. Recent reports increases in waiting times for hip operations also suggested new levels of rationing – patients in some parts of the country will only qualify for knee and hip replacement operations on the NHS if they can prove pain so exceptional that it prevents sleep.

Further to this, we are also seeing further confirmation of an NHS recruitment crisis – with 2.7 million breaches of the Government’s agency cap in nine months, applications for nursing degrees driven down 23 per cent and 2016 saw only half of junior doctors progressing to specialty training.

UCAS figures show that applications for undergraduate nursing degrees starting in September 2017 are down 23 percent compared with the previous year as the effects of the Government’s scrapping of nursing bursaries becomes clear.

We have also seen reductions in training places and a never-ending pay squeeze.

In this situation, is it really a surprise that twenty-seven hospital trusts have warned they are unable to deliver comprehensive care and on average fifty hospitals are calling in extra support every single day?

But not everyone is doing badly out of the NHS crisis.

Private provision in the NHS has more than doubled since 2010, with the Conservatives privatising our NHS by stealth. Health privateers are earning huge sums at taxpayers’ expense, while health workers have faced a pay freeze. And of course when health services are privatised, the brakes come off the pay of the executives in charge.

If all this wasn’t bad enough, it has been reported the Prime Minister has refused to exclude health services from a possible trade deal with the US.

But there is another way.

To give just one example, the cost of Corporation Tax cuts worth almost £15 billion by 2021 is equivalent to the cost of employing 10,000 teachers, 10,000 police officers and 12,000 nurses, full-time, every year, for a decade. Labour will reverse these deeply unfair tax giveaways and start properly investing in our vital public services, including our NHS.

And in addition to giving the NHS the funding it needs, ending privatisation in the NHS and real action to tackle the crisis in social care would both also help ensure the NHS has the resources it needs.

Whilst this government is using the increasingly discredited concept of austerity to cut our health and care sectors budgets, depriving them of the finance they need to support our sick and older people, under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership Labour has clearly opposed the Tories on issue after issue in defence of our NHS.

Labour is not just about opposing the Tories’ failed policies of austerity. It’s also about setting our sights higher about the type of society we want.

We are therefore committed to the NHS both free at the point of use and free at the point of delivery, alongside a genuinely transformative economic policy that is not based on cuts, but instead invests to grow our economy. That is the  way to save our NHS and social care.

In contrast, by underfunding and overstretching the NHS as part of their failed, ideologically-driven austerity project, the Tories have pushed health services to the brink.


  1. terry Sullivan says:

    vote this harridan out–she represents herself and her interests only

  2. Robin Edwards says:

    Corbyn needs to make sure that during this election campaign the party right are marginalised and are not allowed to dilute his anti-austerity message with their pro-EU, neo-liberal garbage. Equally the `left’ neo-liberals and also pro-EU MPs like Diane Abbott should also be marginalised so that Corbyn can concentrate on a socialist programme.

    The problem for Labour ignoring political questions and going for a simple Defend the NHS position is that the neo-liberals have managed to turn the NHS into a trojan horse for mass economic migration. They constantly defend mass economic migration by pointing out that the NHS is totally dependent on it. In the end that does the NHS and socialism no favours. Whilst stealing Doctors and Nurses educated and trained at the expense of poorer nations who need them more then describing this as a virtue is the most noxious imperialism it does not pass the left behind by that there is no longer any funding for their training and education because there does not have to be and when they do need the NHS they discover it’s a post code lottery at best.

    If you really want to defend the NHS and make it a vote winner you must support a Full Socialist Brexit position that fully restores democratic control over immigration. In any case, in what world is the misery of mass economic migration a socialist policy or even something to be welcomed.

    1. Imran Khan says:

      Are you also known as Sid and Doris Bonkers or possibly Dave and Dierdre Spart? This has to be a piss take?

  3. Bazza says:

    Diane and why not float the idea of the public ownership of the pharmaceutical industry in the UK?
    Saves the NHS billions, enables free or cheap drugs, enables democratically publicly owned pharma to do research into ‘less profitable’ conditions and ends working class/working people with serious conditions being robbed of a few precious extra years of life because of the market!
    I always remember a lovely story – intelligent aliens land on earth and they see millions of human beings with conditions and then they see huge warehouses with drugs and they say why don’t you give one to the other?
    And the capitalists they say: “Oh no we can’t do that, we need to make a profit.”
    When it comes to the NHS: “Medicine is love.”

  4. Robin Edwards says:

    The Full Socialist Brexit

    Corbyn needs to come out for The Full Socialist Brexit if his pledges are to gain serious traction: Immediate withdrawal from the EU, the ESM and the Custom’s Union. Restoration of democratic control over borders. That will end the uncertainty and we can start pressing for a New European Settlement that favours workers over bosses by not treating them like migrating cattle chasing each others tails across the continent in search of ever crappier wages and welfare or tethering them in sink communities and schools unable to compete for even the lowliest local job to be permanently left behind.

    People need to know where Jeremy stands on this issue. It cannnot be ignored. If he answers it as above I promise you his campaign will go stratospheric. His pledges on housing, health, education and welfare will be believed. Otherwise people see the same old neo-liberalism of New Labour and think `nah’. It will also let him take total control of the campaign and its narrative from both the Tories and the New Labour saboteurs who will be all over our TVs trying to dilute his message with their Soft Brexit reminding everybody of the disastrous Blair and Brown years. Let the Lib Dems steal 20 or so seats by attracting disillusioned neo-liberal Tories whilst Labour fights it out with the Tories over what kind of Brexit, Socialist or Tory, for power.

    1. Steven Johnston says:

      The UK, pre-1973 was socialist?

  5. David Pavett says:

    Why is Diane Abbott writing about health which is not her brief?

    It would be useful if she could outline here approach to the issues that are related to her Home Office brief, starting with immigration. And then there is policing in England and Wales, national security and the Security Service.

  6. Bazza says:

    Just leafleted my estate in my ward after standing outside of Asda with other members leafleting and talking to people whilst 6 or 7 went canvassing in their ward – were about 16 people and a few new people came (so come on your clicktivisits come and help out – now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of the party!)
    Could share on here some good lines.
    Some people wanted to know about our position on Brexit.
    I said the majority in Labour were for Remain but we lost the debate. We are leaving, Brexit is the only game in town, the EC is a dead parrot!
    Labour wants the Best Brexit for ordinary working people.
    The Tories want a Brexit for Big Business!
    A few working class said they didn’t like Corbyn but as working class myself I said, look we’re working class and we have been up against it all our lives, we are the underdogs but we will fight, that’s all we can do.
    (The above went down well).
    Then I got an arrogant Tory criticising Corbyn – I said we are going to take the elite establishment on and transform society! (He walked away in a huff and I enjoyed that Ha! Ha!)
    Share your tips and stories on here!

    1. Imran Khan says:

      Interesting that you quote the mass murderer Lenin.

      1. Bazza says:

        I speak in my own words as a grassroots, bottom up, left wing democratic socialist and if a former bourgeois socialist who took the power for himself like Lenin happened to have said what I said it just shows that he nearly had the potential to be a great thinker like me.
        Oh by the way Mr Fake name Tory – good news re Unite election we got Len in!

    2. Bazza says:

      Yes if they knew how to engage with working class people.

  7. Robin Edwards says:

    At least we now know why the Tories called this baffling election. It is so they can remove the pledge not to raise taxes from their manifesto. Bankers must need more money. But also their own figures told them that they would lose 27 seats to the Lib Dems so they are retreating back into Coalition and Soft Brexit. If Corbyn now takes a Socialist Brexit position they will prevent voters going back to UKIP when they realise what’s happening and Labour can win this election. If they get involved with Soft Brexit or Non Brexit they are lost not just for this election but as a party and for good.

    1. Steven Johnston says:

      Socialist Brexit position? You mean the one where the UK ends up a classless society and the state withers away?

  8. David Pavett says:

    Will Dianne Abbott contribute an article on the policies connected with her Shadow Cabinet position?

    1. Imran Khan says:

      Blonde nurses, black mums as opposed to white ones? She’s a racist.

  9. Bazza says:

    See Lynton Crosby ‘The Lizard of Oz’ is soon to unleash his dark arts on Labour.
    As the first kid from my working class family to go to university one of the best things I learnt was from a Marxist Urban Studies tutor – he got us to criticise something we loved such as the NHS but I was the only one in the seminar group who got it as I ripped into the NHS.
    So brothers and sisters we should try to anticipate what they are about to throw at us and not only have a response but go on the attack.
    For example if I was a Tory or the editor of the Daily Mail I would for example be calling Jeremy a friend of the IRA!
    But look back at history – it was the Left like Jeremy, Ken, and John who saw that violence in N.ireland was no solution and they talked to Sinn Fein the political of the IRA to explore a peaceful and political solution.
    And of course at the time they were vilified by the media, the Tories and those at the top of Labour.
    But let’s make no mistake it was Jeremy et al whose actions helped to plant the seed of peace in N.Ireland.
    Of course years later Blair et al were to roll in and claim credit for thankfully a peace process but perhaps it is the likes of Jeremy too who should have been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize!
    I am not religious but as someone once said: “Blessed are the peacemakers”
    So ARA – Anticipate, Respond, Attack!

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