Toby’s speech in Parliament about how Chesterfield’s Christmas critical incident demonstrates the need for Labour’s long-term plan for our NHS

Transcript of speech

Thank you very much Sir Roger.

I rise to support this motion, not just on behalf of the Labour Party but on behalf of every person in Chesterfield that has contacted me in despair about the state of our National Health Service in recent times.

I first came into this place in 2010 and I think over the first year or two that I was a Member of Parliament I had virtually no casework about the Health Service. Very occasionally someone might get in touch with me. It’s now every single surgery that I have, I have someone coming to see me about being unable to access a doctor’s appointment, about how long they’ve been waiting for hospital appointments, about how long they’ve been waiting for an operation and tragically, far too often, I meet the families of people who are deceased that would be alive today if they had got the treatment that they should have taken and it’s for them that we are having this debate here today and it’s for them that we need a long term plan.

Now, one of the first duties that I had after the New Year was my regular monthly catch up with Hal Spencer, the Chief Executive of Chesterfield Royal hospital, and I was expecting that that would be a difficult meeting and my goodness, wasn’t it?

The professionalism and the strain that is put on the senior management in our National Health Service by the failures in our Health Service, under this government, was etched all over his face and Chesterfield had been in a Critical Incident over the Christmas period. Chesterfield Royal Hospital is a very good hospital, it’s staffed by wonderful people who are professional, who are committed, who are passionate about the service that they provide but imagine being a caring, dedicated, passionate, committed person and meeting patients who have been waiting 24 hours on a trolly before you get to see them. Imagine being an A&E Registrar and knowing that there is people coming in in agony and all you can give them is paracetamols to get them through then next 12 or 18 hours before they’re seen. Imagine being a professional and seeing people with cancer and knowing that they’ve been waiting far longer, and that their cancer has got worse because you haven’t been able to see them soon enough and that is why the constant sticking plaster approach of this government is letting those people down and is, as this motion says, costing hundreds of lives every week due to the collapse of emergency care.

What we need within that long term plan, as my Rt. Hon Friend, the Shadow Secretary of State has said, is to address the staffing crisis within our National Health Service, that sees 160,000 vacancies within our NHS, to address the failure in General Practice, where the poorer you are the more likely you are going to be at a General Practice surgery that is unable to see you, to address the failure in care that means that 100 people were in Chesterfield Royal Hospital over Christmas that were fit to leave but didn’t have a care package to support them and if we can get that long term plan, if we can address the failure in General Practice, if we can address the failure in Social Care, we actually would save money because one of the maddest things about the failure in our NHS is we are spending far, far more treating people in a hospital bed than we would be able to treat them back at home with a Social Care package or that we would have been able to treat them in the General Practice surgery, if they had been able to get in there.

So, I support this motion, I thank my Hon. Friend for bringing it and the people of Chesterfield will demand that we deliver it when we get into a Labour government.

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