Health and Social Care

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:06 pm on 16th January 2020.

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Photo of Jon Ashworth Jon Ashworth Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 12:06 pm, 16th January 2020

I beg to move an amendment, at the end of the Question to add:

“but respectfully regrets that the Gracious Speech fails to ensure that the National Health Service and social care will be properly funded;
and calls for the Government to bring forward a plan and additional funding to end the crisis in social care and provide for at least a 4 per cent per year real terms increase in health spending.”.

Before I move on to the substance of my remarks, may I congratulate you, Mr Deputy Speaker? It is a pleasure to see you back in your place overseeing these proceedings. I will endeavour to be as brief as I can in my remarks, because I am aware that many Members hope to catch your eye to offer their maiden contributions. I am sure that every one of them will do their constituencies proud.

At the outset, I also wish to thank our hard-working NHS and social care staff who every day go beyond the call of duty and go the extra mile, especially over the Christmas period. We are forever in their debt. Our amendment, which we will put to the vote today, is essentially about backing up those hard-working NHS and social care staff, and sending a message to the Government that they should be given the resources that they need.

This is a motion about the 4.5 million people on waiting lists. This is a motion about the pregnant woman who waited so long for her glaucoma operation at a hospital in Southampton that she nearly lost her sight and has never seen the face of her child. This is a motion about the 34,000 people who wait more than two months for cancer treatment. This is a motion about those constituents, such as mine in Leicester, who had their bladder cancer operations cancelled twice. This is a motion about the 79,000 cancelled operations last year, and the 18,000 children’s cancelled operations. This is a motion about the 110,000 children denied mental health care, even though they are in the most desperate of circumstances. This is a motion about the 98,000 patients who waited on trolleys last month—a 65% increase on the previous year—many of them elderly, many of them in their 80s and 90s, languishing for hours and hours on trolleys in hospital corridors.

This is a motion about those hospitals that have been pushed to rack and ruin after years of cuts to capital budgets, including Hillingdon hospital in the Prime Minister’s own backyard, where children’s wards had to be closed because of subsidence. This is a motion about the Royal Cornwall hospital that is discharging patients early because it is so overwhelmed. This is a motion about the 1.5 million people, many of them with dementia, denied the social care support they need after years and years of swingeing cuts.