We went into the coronavirus pandemic with the longest waiting lists on record, 100,000 staff shortages in the NHS, 112,000 vacancies in social care, and 17,000 fewer hospital beds
NHS waiting lists are at record highs and they’re rising.
One in every nine people in England are waiting months or even years, often in pain, discomfort and distress.
There’s no doubt that Covid has made the situation worse. But thanks to Conservative mismanagement we went into the pandemic with the longest waiting lists on record, 100,000 staff shortages in the NHS, 112,000 vacancies in social care, and 17,000 fewer hospital beds.
It’s not just that the Conservatives didn’t fix the roof when the sun was shining, they dismantled the roof and removed the floorboards.
As a result of their incompetence in running down the public sector, the Government is having to turn to the private sector. It’s going to cost all of us.
The Conservative Government has an awful record in getting value for money.
Despite billions poured into private health providers by the Government, they treated just 8 Covid patients a day in the first year of the pandemic and performed fewer NHS-funded operations than the previous year.
Under the Tories, we pay more but get less.
The next Labour government will need to sort out this mess. Reducing waiting times will be my top priority.
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It is a mark of Conservative failure that private sector capacity may now be needed to address waiting lists in the short-term.
Labour will do what is necessary to ensure working class people, who can’t afford to go private, avoid waiting in agony for months and years on end while those who can afford to go private jump the queue.
But we will prioritise the long-term fixes, in the workforce, in prevention and in social care, so that the NHS can reduce waiting lists on its own.
Labour will build and NHS with the staff and modern technology needed to give patients first-class treatment.
Our focus on preventing illnesses becoming emergencies will help catch problems early and reduce pressure on hospitals.
And with thousands of patients stuck in hospital beds because there is nowhere to discharge them, we’ll fix social care.
When I had kidney cancer last year the NHS saved my life. I’ll always defend the NHS as a public service in public ownership.
On my watch, Labour’s priority will be providing you and your family with the highest quality care as quickly as possible.