The Tories’ Health Record Is Shameful

Vince Cable and Liberal Democrats on Europe March 2017

This week NHS England released statistics on the NHS’s key performance measures – and they are abysmal.

Almost 1 in 5 patients attending A&E in England were not treated or admitted within four hours. This is the worst performance ever recorded since the target was introduced in 2004.

Meanwhile, just 76.9% of cancer patients are starting their treatment within target waiting times. And only 85% of patients referred for non-urgent treatment were seen within 18 weeks.

And this is not a one-off. By all measures, the NHS has done much, much worse under Tory rule.

These are not just statistics. They represent millions of patients who are not getting the quality of care that they need.

Patients waiting for hours in A&E for treatment. Patients being left alone on trolleys in corridors. Some patients even spending months waiting to begin treatment for cancer.

The Conservatives have failed patients and have failed the NHS.

They have refused to invest properly in our health service. Local hospitals are underfunded, overstretched and understaffed.

Instead of working hard to address these issues, they are spending countless hours and millions of pounds on their extreme Brexit.

And they are planning to make the situation worse. The Tories want to impose the cruel nurse tax, which will drive away the European nurses the NHS desperately needs to staff services.

We have to fix this.

And the Liberal Democrats have a plan for how to do just that.

We will stop Brexit, and allow the NHS to continue to recruit the highly skilled staff it needs from EU countries.

And we will put a penny on income tax for the NHS. This will raise an extra £35 billion, to invest in the staff and equipment that are so badly needed.

Everybody deserves access to excellent healthcare, free at the point of use. For over 70 years, people in the UK have had just that.

And under a Liberal Democrat government, we will continue to have a world-class NHS for decades to come.