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Author Archives: Diane Abbott

I am very proud to be addressing conference as Shadow Secretary of State for Health under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. First I want to talk about the current junior doctors’ dispute. Tory Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has persistently vilified and misrepresented the British Medical Association and the junior doctors themselves. They have been treated like lithe enemy within but the public is in no doubt that responsibility for this dispute lies at the door of Jeremy Hunt. Health service workers already work at weekends. The seven day NHS he talked about could only have been achieved by the same […]
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At party conference this week, the NEC agreed 10 pledges on what Labour stands for, setting out the framework for what it will campaign for and what a Labour government will do. As shadow secretary of state for health, I very much welcome the pledge on the NHS and social care. In stating that “we will end health service privatisation and bring services into a secure, publicly provided NHS. We will integrate the NHS and social care for older and disabled people, funding dignity across the board, and ensure parity for mental health services,” Labour has shown that we are the […]
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You need to be rich these days to grow old with dignity in Britain. Six years of local authority budget cuts by the conservative government has placed the burden for caring for our elderly and infirm on their relatives and the over-stretched voluntary sector. Since the Tories came to power, local authorities have responded to these central cuts by allocating 9% less on social care, as demand has grown. As the government abandons our most in need, a silent alarm is screaming in households across the country.  Hundreds of thousands of Britons who struggle to eat, wash and go to the toilet […]
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Last week in Parliament the Labour Party was united in attacking the latest Tory attack on the NHS. The mechanisms of the attack are technical-sounding Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs). In reality these are Secret Tory Plans to decimate the NHS and Labour is determined to fight them. There is no dispute in Labour about the importance of the NHS, which remains the most cherished in the country. Labour established the NHS. It needs defending from this Tory Government like never before. STPs are primarily financial mechanisms to impose cuts, “control totals” in the Tory jargon. STPs will bring together […]
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The Government has initiated 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) for the NHS in England. Under this innocuous-sounding title lies a major threat the continued existence of the NHS. There has been extreme secrecy about the actual plans of the STPs. They are not statutory bodies and so cannot be held to account. Campaigners such as unions, 38 Degrees and OpenDemocracy find there is no response to Freedom of Information requests or sometimes a note stating that no minutes are kept of STP meetings. This lack of accountability and transparency as well as outright secrecy regarding the plans is deliberate. […]
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The Conservatives have mired our health service in crisis. Our task is to shift resources away from profit-seeking private operators and back to frontline care For patients and staff, the crisis in the NHS is becoming more apparent with each passing day. Waiting times for cancer treatment, ambulances, GPs, A&E admissions and for almost all elective surgeries are lengthening, and targets are receding into the distance. The Tories have provoked the first ever all-out strike by junior doctors. Many hospital trusts are racking up debt. Civil servants have found plans for a seven-day NHS unfeasible. Jeremy Hunt has misled parliament […]
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The Murky Pro-Corporate Trade Agenda is Bad For Our Health In the run-up to the EU referendum, discussion of the threat posed by the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to the NHS and Britain’s wider public sector moved from the shade of the NGOs and think-tanks, through the Overton window, and out into the fresh air of public debate. Important but arcane issues were discussed, such as how TTIP’s procurement rules would force the NHS to contract out services, and the new rights afforded to private health companies to sue Britain for national public health policies that could harm […]
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We found out in July that Jeremy Hunt will continue to be the Secretary of State for Health in Theresa May’s Cabinet. Since I had the honour of becoming Labour’s shadow health secretary, I have pressed Hunt on the problems facing our NHS, but he has had few answers from the barrage of cross-bench concern at various parliamentary debates on NHS funding and the impact of Brexit on the NHS. When asked what he was doing to ensure that the NHS gets the £350 million a week that it was promised during the Leave referendum campaign, Hunt said: “I am a […]
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