The National Health Service turned 70 on 5th July 2018. I attended an event in Parliament to celebrate this milestone along with the rest of the Shadow Cabinet where I signed a giant birthday card thanking staff for the incredible work that they do. I am committed to defending the NHS as a public service paid for through taxation and free at the point of need.
Despite the current crisis in our NHS, the Government recently announced that it would increase expenditure on the NHS by an average of only 3.4% annually. I believe that this is insufficient to deliver the much-needed improvements in care and the announcement fails to ensure proper provision for social care, capital spending and public health budgets. Fresh research claims that to secure some modest improvements in NHS services, funding increases of nearer 4% a year would be required over the medium term, with 5% annual increases in the short run.
The Labour Party is committed to provide patients with modern, well-resourced services that are fit for the 21st century. The manifesto for the 2017 General Election pledged an extra £30 billion of funding to the NHS over the course of a Parliament, to scrap the NHS pay cap, to guarantee access to treatments within 18 weeks, to maintain the 4-hour A&E target and to take one million people off NHS waiting lists by 2022.