NHS at 70


Today the National Health Service turns 70. On 5 July 1948, the NHS was established by the Labour Party against all the odds to deliver healthcare for all – based on need, not ability to pay. The National Health Service is one of Labour’s greatest achievements and over the years it has deservedly become a national treasure.

This historic birthday is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the achievements of one of the nation’s most loved institutions, to appreciate the vital role the service plays in our lives, and to thank the hardworking staff who make up the NHS.

The pride and commitment we feel towards the NHS is stronger than ever. But the challenges facing our health service are some of the greatest it’s faced in its history.

Nurses, doctors and all the other staff who make up the NHS in our area do a fantastic job and work around the clock to cope with rising demand and an ageing population. Frontline staff regularly tell me the enormous pressure they are under due to financial pressures on the service. For eight years Government Minsters have not given NHS staff the resources to do the job. NHS staff and the patients they serve deserve better.

The additional money which Theresa May has recently announced for our NHS is welcome as far as it goes. But it both falls short of what is needed and the Government have been far from clear about whether they have a clue about how they are going to pay for it.

On its 70th birthday we need a different approach to our NHS to provide staff with the resources to address the crisis in social care and to provide patients with the modern, well-resourced that they deserve and which is for the 21st century. The future of our NHS is too important to neglect it in the way the Government has done in recent years. People deserve better. That is why the Labour Party have set out our fully costed plans to raise taxes for the top 5% and big business to top up NHS spending growth to around the amount of 5% which is required by our NHS. We set out our plans – and how we will pay for them – in or manifesto last year. You can find that here  and here.

Treatment free at the point of delivery. Everyone treated equally and based solely on their clinical need, not on their ability to pay. These are the principles on which Labour created the NHS. They are principles on which the Labour Party will never compromise. We will never stop fighting for our NHS.

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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.