Labour should listen to our NHS doctors

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

The NHS is in crisis, but Labour care more about theoretical restructures than listening to doctors and nurses about what it really needs: funding for front line-services, not another reorganisation.

Yesterday, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathon Ashworth tabled an amendment to the Queen’s speech calling for the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to be repealed. We refused to back it, and it lost.

Make no mistake: this dangerous amendment was driven by empty ideology, just like Labour’s stance on Brexit. The disruption the amendment would have caused would have been catastrophic for the NHS. Most importantly, the NHS did not want it.

As we all know, the NHS is dependant on the hard work and dedication of staff from countries across the EU, and the unnecessary chaos Brexit is causes is taking vital focus and resources away from improving our public services.

We’re clear: the only way to save the NHS is to stop Brexit.

Labour’s NHS amendment is just a taste of what could happen to the NHS in the hands of the Labour government, who value ideology over the voices of NHS staff.

Instead, Sarah Woollaston MP, Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee pointed out that politicians should listen to NHS staff to hear how the current system can be approved, rather causing chaos by tearing the NHS apart:

1. Instead of attacking @LibDems for refusing to back @UKLabour plans for a disruptive & unwanted NHS reorganisation, it’s time for Mr Corbyn to listen to what the people who work in & lead the NHS are asking for

— Sarah Wollaston MP (@sarahwollaston) 24 October 2019

She highlighted that Labour’s amendment completely ignores the extremely hard work that staff from across the NHS have put in to create a set of expert recommendations to Parliament on what would actually improve the service:

2. The NHS has made recommendations to Parliament & to Govt on the legislative changes it needs, after an extensive consultation & having worked alongside the cross party @CommonsHealth select committee which also took evidence & reported

— Sarah Wollaston MP (@sarahwollaston) 24 October 2019

Luciana Berger MP, our Shadow Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care added that Labour’s unwanted amendment would cost the NHS billions of pounds that could be better spent on vital services. She also pointed out that Labour used to oppose huge unnecessary restructures, not suggest them. This shows that Labour have completely lost their way on the NHS:

It would also cost billions of pounds. The Labour Party used to be against these NHS reorganisations.

— Luciana Berger (@lucianaberger) 24 October 2019

So what would we do instead? It’s simple: we’re listing to hard-working NHS staff and medical experts about what really can be done to improve our health services. As Sarah points out, their ideas are well-researched, clear and designed with patients in mind, not dangerous party ideology:

Here are the opening key asks from the NHS on future legislation. All political parties should be listening to what the people who lead and work in our NHS have to say, including @UKLabour . These include scrapping section75. Evidence matters more than rigid ideology

— Sarah Wollaston MP (@sarahwollaston) 24 October 2019

This is why we would prioritise spending for vital front-line services, not another reorganisation. As the original pioneers of the health service, Liberals have always made providing health care for all a top priority. Let’s work with the NHS, not against it.

But first of all, we must stop Brexit. This is the only way to save the NHS.