Health and Social Care

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

Alert me about debates like this

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

Let me make a little bit of progress. I think Members on both sides would agree that I am usually generous in taking interventions, but I am aware that many colleagues want to make their maiden speeches today. I will take some interventions, but let me make a little bit of progress. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will give me a bit of leeway.

This motion is about giving the NHS the funding it needs. It is a motion that will test every newly elected Conservative Member of Parliament on their commitment to the NHS.

The Government are correct to signal in the Queen’s Speech, as they did indeed in the pre-election Queen’s Speech, that health and social care should be the priority. On that, at least, they have my agreement. Yesterday the Prime Minister promised to

“get those waiting lists down.”—[Official Report, 15 January 2020; Vol. 669, c. 1015.]

So the test that must be applied to the NHS and social care announcements in the Gracious Address is whether they add up to a strategy to drive waiting lists down and A&E performance up. The answer on that front is surely no. We have promises of 40 new hospitals, 50,000 new extra nurses, and 50 million more GP appointments, with 6,000 extra GPs. On each and every one of these commitments, we will keep track of progress and test Ministers on whether they deliver.

But we will also test Ministers on social—