As a doctor who has worked in the NHS for nine years, the sight of Ed Miliband in Newark Hospital telling everyone that Labour would deliver for the NHS was a sight too sore.
Labour was a disaster for the NHS in Nottinghamshire yet there was no walk of shame from the Labour leader, more a conceited swagger and an assertion that the NHS is the left’s territory and will stay that way.
We have heard for weeks that UKIP will privatise the health service (not true), charge NHS patients GP fees (a LibDem policy) and fees to stay overnight in hospital (actually a Labour policy). Labour’s obsession with PFI and booking instant-wins on the back of ever higher debt spending was part of the macho casino culture we all saw under its administration.
It left Sherwood Forest Foundation Trust with a £320m hospital in Mansfield (actually a £66m hospital with a 400 percent cost overrun but that doesn’t sound quite as sexy) that will take a total of 40 years to pay back £950m at credit card rates of interest. Add to this a £1.2billion service contract, and under Labour, patients in Newark end up paying £2 billion for a £66m hospital. That’s what the record investment was all about: record debt on record waste.
While the Tories wring hands and Labour waves fists over a less than one percent pay rise for nurses, neither rush to tell the voting public these juicy service contracts are RPI linked. In other words, while NHS workers’ pay is eroded by inflation, these corporate deals are inflation proofed for decades.
Sherwood Forest Foundation Trust was one of the 13 most dangerous in the country under Labour. In these 13 trusts alone there were 14,000 excess deaths over five years, almost half the population of Newark. While NHS managers buried whistleblowers, Labour and its dysfunctional regulators buried bad news while the public buried their relatives.
Andy Burnham, the former Secretary of State for Health slated the A&E at Newark for closure, and the Tories were happy enough to waive this closure through.
While bureaucrats in Brussels are chauffeured around, patients in Newark are taken by the local bus company to A&Es many miles away. Since the A&E closure, deaths in Newark have soared yet ambulances are driving to Grantham and back for patients having heart attacks and pneumonia. When people in Newark wonder why eight minute emergency response times aren’t being met, it maybe, just maybe due to the fact the ambulances are facing an 80-minute round trip to the next county.
Labour’s toxic contempt of good financial planning and patient care has left Newark’s NHS crippled by debt, while Tory re-organisations and cuts to frontline staff mean only UKIP can hope to restore Newark’s A&E and deliver the healthcare the town deserves by cutting waste, clamping down on health tourism and putting patients before targets.