Happy Birthday NHS! Let’s make sure David Cameron protects it for the future…


Tomorrow – 5th July 2013 – marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of the NHS.  

The NHS remains an incredible institution to this day, providing free health services to millions of people every day. But the NHS today is suffering from an A&E crisis that proves that the Tories just can’t be trusted with our health service.

We know that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital A&E which serves the Northfield constituency missed the target of seeing 95% of patients within four hours in the first quarter of this year. And staffing shortages are leaving services overstretched, with experts warning that the vital services local people rely on could fail by the winter if action isn’t taken.

Instead of supporting our hardworking NHS staff, David Cameron and the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt keep blaming GPs and nurses for the problems. The Tory-led Government are refusing take responsibility for the crisis they have created.

Because we know the Government’s devastating cuts to social care for the elderly are one of main drivers behind the rise in A&E waiting times. Fewer older people are getting the care they need at home, meaning more have to be admitted to hospital and more get stuck in hospital beds at the end of their treatment. The pressure is ending up at A&E – which can’t admit new patients.

To make immediate changes, Labour would use the ‘underspends’ in the NHS budget to fund an extra billion pounds into social care over each of the next two years. This investment would be paid for by money the Chancellor could have spent on the NHS but chose not to. It would relieve the pressure on A&Es, and enable more elderly people stay healthy and independent in their own homes.

But we know we have to plan long-term to safeguard the NHS for the future. Labour has put forward bold proposals for a genuinely integrated NHS and social care system, bringing together physical health, mental health and social care into a single service that will meet all the care needs of an ageing population.

The creation of the NHS in 1948 is one of the country’s –  and Labour’s  – proudest achievements. For me the 65th birthday is not just about celebration – but is an opportunity to ensure this national institution we rely on everyday and night is protected for the future.  

Please join the campaign at labour.org.uk/nhs-crisis to send a message to David Cameron that he must act to protect frontline services now.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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You can reach me by email at richard@richardburden.com or use the form on the Contact page to send me a message.