Today the Labour candidate for Ealing Central and Acton, Rupa Huq, has produced a typically sided piece for the ealingtoday.gov.uk website which I guess will be reprinted verbatim by the online version of the Gazette at least.
Her party’s misrepresentation of the changes to the local health system, known as Shaping a Healthier Future, are debunked by the NHS itself here.
Labour refuses to acknowledge that the closures we have had locally under the Shaping a Healthier Future programme are not as extensive as they make out and would have happened anyway under a Labour government, being as they are merely the delayed local roll out of Labour’s own £20 billion Nicholson Challenge programme kicked off by Andy Burnham in 2009.
On the whole Rupa Huq seems like a nice lady so it was very disappointing to see her use the death of a child to weaponise the NHS as an issue yet again. She might have troubled to look up the name of baby Muhammad Hashir Naveed who died when his parents erroneously took him to a closed A&E facility at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield. It really wasn’t very classy.
As a Conservative and a huge fan of the NHS I was also disappointed that an academic can tell such a one-sided story of the foundation of the NHS.
Labour founded the NHS in 1948 to Tory opposition then and only Labour can rebuild and protect the health service now by taking the strain off our hospitals by funding an integrated care system, where residents can see their GPs before they find themselves in hospital and by reversing the break up and sell off the NHS.
So voters need to remember all this as they cast their vote on 7th May and support Labour as the only party who created the NHS and who will stand up for it because if the Tories sneak back into power with their plans for more cuts and closures it’s no exaggeration to say that there is a serious risk that there won’t be an NHS in this country anymore in the sense envisaged by its founding father Nye Bevan and that would be no less than situation critical.
The NHS was the product of a long running debate through much of the first 40 years of the 20th century. During the war the consensus emerged that there should be a comprehensive health service free at the point of use. This consensus was crystallised in the 1944 NHS white paper produced under Conservative Minister of Health Henry Willink. The Conservatives went into the 1945 election offering this in their manifesto:
The health services of the country will be made available to all citizens. Everyone will contribute to the cost, and no one will be denied the attention, the treatment or the appliances he requires because he cannot afford them.
We propose to create a comprehensive health service covering the whole range of medical treatment from the general practitioner to the specialist, and from the hospital to convalescence and rehabilitation; and to introduce legislation for this purpose in the new Parliament.
Yes, the Conservatives did vote against Bevan’s bill because it ignored the white paper which envisaged local authorities being in control and opted instead for the massively centralised NHS controlled by central government that we have being trying to get away from ever since. I am sure that Rupa Huq has enough book learning to know she is making cheap points on the foundation of the NHS and its more recent finances.
The NHS has been safe in Coalition hands for the last five years and will thrive under a Conservative government for the next five.