I congratulate my hon. Friend Heidi Alexander on securing this important debate and on her powerful opening speech. As she will know, health services in my constituency have already suffered greatly at the hands of the Conservatives. Two years ago they downgraded Chase Farm hospital, axing both our accident and emergency and maternity services and breaking every promise they made to local people.
Now they are seeking to implement changes to contracts that I believe are unfair on doctors and pose significant risks to patients, both in Enfield and across the country. That view has been reinforced by the number of doctors from Enfield North who have contacted me to express their serious concerns. Dr Irene Gafson is one of my constituents and has been a junior doctor for eight years. She took part in the march in London earlier this month and carried a sign bearing Nye Bevan’s famous words that the NHS
“will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it.”
Many Members may have seen the thought-provoking and insightful article she wrote for The Daily Telegraph after the event. Two things in particular struck me when I read her piece. The first was the deep sense of privilege she and her colleagues feel about being doctors. It is not just a job, but a vocation. These are hard-working, dedicated professionals who care passionately about what they do.