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NHS 10-Year Plan

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:06 pm on 19th February 2019.

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Photo of Jon Ashworth Jon Ashworth Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 6:06 pm, 19th February 2019

My hon. Friend makes a good point, and I will come on to discuss the workforce in a few moments. First, let me pick up the point made by my hon. Friend Louise Haigh.

There is recognition in the plan that widening health inequalities are becoming a more important issue, which we need to confront. There is much in the document about widening health inequalities. After years of austerity, with poverty rates increasing and child poverty at 4.1 million, we now see life expectancy in this country stalling for the first time in a hundred years, and actually going backward in the poorest parts of the country. Child mortality rates for children born into the most deprived of circumstances have increased. The truth is that poorer people get sick quicker and die earlier. For me, as a socialist and a Labour politician, that is shameful. We should be creating conditions in which people live longer, healthier, happier lives, which is why we need to end austerity across the board. The focus on health inequalities is therefore welcome, and that includes the stark recognition that inequalities are costing the NHS £4.8 billion a year in admissions—a remarkable figure.