NHS Pay

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:37 pm on 13th September 2017.

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Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry Conservative, Broxtowe 3:37 pm, 13th September 2017

I was going to say that it was a great pleasure to follow Jim McMahon, but I truly struggle to do so. If we are to do our job as politicians, the first thing that we must do is drop the rhetoric, drop the slogans and stop the insults. They do not help, they do not achieve anything, and they are insulting. Let me tell the hon. Gentleman, and other Opposition Members, that some of us on this side of the House are getting a little sick and tired of, one, the way that the Labour party continues to run down our NHS, and two, the perpetuation of the stereotype that we do not use it, and, indeed, that we do not have families. In fact, our families have long roots in the NHS.

I am very proud of four generations of Soubrys all of whom are working, or have worked, in the NHS. My niece is training to be a paramedic, and I am sure that my mentioning that in Parliament in the presence of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will advance her career. Of course it will not! Her mother, my sister-in-law, works in a GP’s surgery, and my brother Charlie works at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. My mother was a radiographer all her working life; she proudly worked in the NHS for 40 years, finally retiring, long after she should have done, at Doncaster Royal Infirmary. Her mother-in-law—my grandmother—was a nurse, as was my great aunt. I am therefore one of many Members on this side of the House with long, firm roots in the NHS. We get it, we love it, we have a passion for it, and that is why we continue to support it and fund it.

What the hon. Member for Oldham West and Royton just does not understand, like, sadly, so many of his colleagues, is that the way we achieve the great public services we all agree we want is to have a good, firm, sound economy, and we achieve that through the sort of sensible Conservative policies that we on these Benches have advocated, and have achieved—or we wreck it and destroy that strong economy with the sort of socialism that strangles our economy now being advocated by Labour’s current Front-Bench. The choice for the British people is absolutely clear: if they want a strong NHS delivering those fantastic services, they should support the Conservative party, because it us who deliver the economy to pay for those services.

I also take grave exception to anybody telling me that I follow the party line; I can think of a few on the Conservative Benches who would take grave issue with that. I make it very clear that there are undoubtedly problems and huge challenges, and all is not well within our great NHS, but, please, we must not talk it down in the way we have done.

By way of example, a very dear friend of mine died only the other week; he had a terminal illness. Even in her deepest grief, my friend, Dick Benson’s widow, when she called to tell me of his demise, told me of the remarkable care that he had had thanks to the GP in Nottingham who had provided his end-of-life care support. That is just one example of the hundreds of thousands of people who are receiving world-class treatment every day, thanks to our NHS.

As I have said, however, all is not well. Too many of our NHS workers are working overly long shifts with short breaks. I know of consultant friends of mine having to pay for their lanyards when they are broken at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and there are many other examples.

Finally, let me give an outstanding example from my clinical commissioning group, Nottingham West. It has said that six of the 12 GP surgeries are outstanding. There is much more to be done, but make no mistake: the way we achieve a great NHS and make it even better is to have the strong economy that only the Conservatives can deliver.