Labour’s NHS record is soiled by failure

Published in The Sun (23 April, 2015)

If you say something often enough, some people will believe it.

Clearly this is Labour’s health strategy, with talk of ‘rescuing’ a system on ‘life support’.

The reality is different – despite cash struggles and soaring demand, dissatisfaction with the NHS is at an all-time low.

The coalition, far from destroying the NHS, kept pumping in cash. Now the Tories pledge to stump up an extra £8bn.

Most importantly, they focused on patient safety with 8,000 extra hospital nurses hired, many bad managers drummed out and poor hospitals put in special measures.

I know the importance of this from my own experiences, having seen how the NHS can fail its most vulnerable patients following the birth of my profoundly-disabled daughter.

Over the past two decades I have come across superb doctors and nurses.

But my family also witnessed mistakes that risked her life – along with lies, arrogance and uncaring attitudes.

The harsh truth is that Labour should be held responsible for policies that stretched services and risked patient safety.

They offered GPs a gold-plated contract with big pay increases that allowed most of them to abandon emergency cover.

They almost doubled the number of managers, then imposed a target culture that distorted services.

They blew £10bn on a bungled computer system and billions more on profligate private finance initiatives.

But to save money they merged three regulators into one – infamous for blunders and bureaucracy.

The consequence was a series of shameful scandals.

The Tories too have made mistakes. Yet I can only question their strange silence on this, the electorate’s most important issue.

For this defeatism and timidity allows Labour to carry on posing as the party of the NHS, despite a record soiled by failures that left tragedy in their wake.

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