Belper NHS Hustings
By Phillip Mackin
Belper NHS Hustings
Two of our local Lib-Dem candidates attended the Belper Hustings about the NHS on 5 December 2019 - Felix Dodds is our candidate for Mid-Derbyshire, and Kate Smith our candidate for Amber Valley.
Also present were two Labour candidates, a passionate Green candidate, and a large audience - but no Conservatives. Everyone present was seriously disappointed that the "party of government" did not bother to turn up, but instead sent a written statement to read out.
As Lib-Dems, we are proud to be the party of William Beveridge, who proposed the national health service in his 1942 report, which was then implemented by the Attlee government after the war.
Our major concerns for the NHS today are about funding, workforce planning, and the failure of the Conservative government to engage with the issues. We found the Conservative statement full of the same.
- The Tories claim they are giving the NHS the resources it needs, but funding always falls short of what is required by the NHS. The Conservative plan to increase the NHS budget by 3.4% a year (to £33.9 billion by 2023-4) may sound good, but increases of 4% a year are needed in order to meet the NHS's needs and see any improvement in its services.
- We worry about the shortage of healthcare professionals, and where the next generation of doctors and nurses will come from. At the same time as Brexit makes the UK a less attractive home for immigrant health workers, we are not offering the proper incentives and bursaries to encourage more young people to start their training.
- We worry about patient outcomes for cancers and heart disease, where despite progress we still lag behind other European countries and the G7.
- We worry about US pharmaceutical companies being given a stronger position over the NHS, knowing that it can easily lead to tripled (or more) costs for essential medicines.
- Finally we worry about the bare-faced denials we get from the government and from local Tory candidates, who refuse to accept that any problems exist, and so cannot be trusted to do anything useful to help.
The Tories deny that they want to sell off the NHS to America, but we have all read the leaked government trade talk documents. This is the price they will have to pay for the quick-and-dirty post-Brexit trade deal they're so desperate for.