THE BLOG

#NHSNotNuclear: It's Time To Scrap The Government's Nuclear Follies And Put Our NHS First

24/02/2017 13:38
Handout via Getty Images

NHS spending under the Conservative government is at its lowest since the 1950s, and the latest accounts reveal a funding shortfall of £900m for the 2016-17 financial year.

According to a recent study by researchers from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Oxford University and Blackburn with Darwen council, NHS cuts were likely responsible for 30,000 excess deaths in 2015 - an unprecedented rise in mortality - but the service has been asked to make another £22bn worth of cuts regardless.

Secretive sustainability and transformation plans (STPs), for which the Government admits it has allocated zero funds despite the British Medical Association calculating the proposals would cost £9.5bn upfront, will see thousands of NHS beds slashed across the country, cutting NHS capacity by more than 5 million patients every year. The plans will also ensure the closure of scores of A&E departments and the loss of vital maternity and stroke care services.

From closing A&E and maternity services in Milton Keynes to slashing beds on the Isle of Wight, from downgrading the Princess Royal Hospital in West Sussex to downgrading Horton Hospital in Oxford, these cuts will have real and significant impacts on people in my South East constituency and their access to healthcare.

Meanwhile, Theresa May has approved the renewal of Trident, cost £205bn; is pushing ahead with the Hinkley 'white elephant', cost £37bn, and is looking set to rescue the faltering Moorside and Wylfa nuclear projects, cost £7bn.

This situation is ridiculous; we have a Government more concerned with blowing £250bn on its nuclear follies rather than safeguarding the health of the British people.

We don't need Trident; we can't use it; we can't afford it. Is the Prime Minister really prepared to argue we need the capacity to murder millions more than we need a functioning healthcare system to look after our sick and vulnerable?

We don't need Hinkley either; costs are spiralling; offshore wind will be cheaper, and the risks don't bear thinking about. Nor do we need Moorside or Wylfa; developers have no confidence in the projects and nor should we; taxpayers will end up picking up the tab.

What we do need is a fully funded, truly public NHS. As the world's fifth largest economy, we can afford so much better. We must provide the British people with the social and hospital care services they deserve.

The Tories continue to demonstrate why they are the biggest threat to our beloved NHS. Brexiteer Ministers Liam Fox, Boris Johnson, and David Davis, who were promising an extra £350m a week for our health services should we vote to leave the EU, are now overseeing the cuts that are pushing our NHS into crisis.

The Conservative government's pursuit of an extreme Brexit and insistence on treating the lives of EU citizens as bargaining chips looks likely to drive 12,000 EEA-trained doctors out of our already understaffed and underfunded National Health Service.

With a demoralised, increasingly under-resourced workforce, a '7-day plan' exposed as a cynical ploy to open up services to further privatisation, and an incompetent Health Secretary in charge of bankrupting our proudest public service; it is clearer than ever that this government cannot be trusted with the NHS.

In the short-term, the Conservatives must put the NHS first and halt its £250bn nuclear folly. In the long-term, to have any hope of restoring a well-funded and truly public health service, politicians must come together to support the cross-party NHS Reinstatement Bill.

Comments

CONVERSATIONS