The battle lines have been drawn in Stoke Central for our NHS. Only Labour can oppose the Tories successfully. A vote for UKIP won't change our NHS for the better. This last week we have seen more than ever that our NHS, in Stoke and nationally, is in a state of worsening and unprecedented crisis with no end in sight. We can not turn our back and ignore this and hope for the best. It is too important. Action is needed now. The Conservatives have no answers, no solutions but rather a list of excuses for failure. There does not appear to be any strategy forthcoming from them at all but rather an attitude of letting the long trolley waits continue and escalate, stretching the system to breaking point. Urgent action is needed to send a loud and clear message in Stoke and nationally that we will not accept our friends and family (indeed any patient) being subject to this in one of the richest countries in the World. It does not and should not have to be this way.
A General Practitioner and A&E Doctor, I've worked many shifts (nights, evenings, weekends) in the Royal Stoke University Hospital between 2015 and 2016 and had the privilege of treating thousands of patients there. I am currently in the process of completing a contract to work in Stoke A&E again long before this by-election was even announced. I've seen first hand the commitment and dedication of all the hospital staff in Stoke. I keep in touch with them regularly. They are all heroes. They are being asked to achieve more and more with less and less. It is not fair on the patients nor the staff. Stoke and the whole country deserves better.
The Government seem determined to blame everyone but themselves for what is happening. These last few days they started scapegoating GP's who are a key group of people we need to help solve this crisis. Who advises them on crisis management? Where is the positive action to actually help people? They are significantly cutting social care that keeps people out of hospital, closing pharmacies, GP surgeries are closing, NHS bursaries have been removed to train to be nurses. Hospitals are regularly dangerously full and operations increasingly cancelled for cancer patients. Ambulances are struggling to get to patients in safe times. Are we going to allow this to happen? To our families? To our loved ones? To our community?
UKIP have no answers to the difficulties we face. They have no credibility on health and their ex-leader has been on record suggesting we need move to a private, insurance based system. It comes down to a choice between Labour or the Conservatives. Only Labour offer a route to improved standards for all. Only Labour can take the Tories on.
We demand that our NHS and social care are given the resources, funding and proper planning they need to ensure all patients and staff are treated with the dignity they deserve. Doing nothing is not an option.
I will be campaigning to be selected Labour candidate for Stoke Central to advocate for our NHS in Stoke and that the NHS crisis not be swept under the carpet and inaction continue. Our campaign will deliver a key message that Labour is here to fight, Labour is listening and Labour cares and will take positive action. That is the defining difference.