Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Questions to the candidates: David Williams on health

Labour created the National Health Service, which is our greatest achievement. The Tories bitterly opposed the NHS from the start and practically destroyed it in the 1980s and 1990s. We in Crewe and Nantwich know only too well because Leighton had the longest waiting list in the country under Mrs Thatcher.

Labour prioritised the health service, putting it back on its feet. Our investment breathed new life into the NHS after 18 years of neglect.

That investment has given us three new medical centres: Eagle Bridge, Rope Green and Church View. Leighton Hospital had a new ‘state of the art’ treatment centre (pictured), new eye clinic and a major refurbishment of the old hospital buildings.

Labour also looked after the staff, because they are the beating heart of the health service. I stood on a picket line at Leighton in the 1990s to end poverty pay for nurses. I also helped paramedics collect signatures in Crewe town centre for better pay. Labour significantly increased the pay of these important workers and the Tories heavily criticised us for that. Like other NHS users, I very much value the staff.

NHS Direct is a Labour innovation that we often take for granted. Operating out of the old Barony Hospital it is source of professional advice that’s just a phone call away.

Looking forward Labour will introduce a patient guarantee for everyone suspected of having Cancer. You will be seen in less than two weeks of your GP’s referral and receive the test results within one week. Everyone knows that the sooner you are diagnosed and treated for Cancer the better chance you have. I do not understand why the Tories won’t match Labour’s guarantee?

If you want it - you have to vote for it. Only Labour offers patient guarantees and continued NHS investment.

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