Saving our NHS

The National Health Service is a great institution and probably Labour's greatest ever achievement.

We have seen the damage done to our NHS by previous Tory Governments and we know, all too well, how much work was necessary to repair that damage.

Work and investment to reopen wards, increasing the numbers of doctors and nurses, repairing and rebuilding hospitals and facilities and to improve the early detection and preventative services that have meant, quite literally, the difference between life and death for many patients.

We have all, at some point in our lives, counted on the NHS, now, as Andy Burnham said yesterday, the NHS is counting on us.

It is time for all of us to step up to the plate. We all opposed NHS privatisation and we must not give up now. The NHS is not, and never should be, a marketplace.

In striving for the record low waiting lists we are proud to have achieved with the help of the private sector, Andy admitted that at times we let the market in too far.

There is no doubt that the NHS faces challenges, with an ageing population and increasing numbers of diagnoses in cancer, diabetes and other long-term conditions but the answer is not a non-mandated, top-down reorganisation of the organisation.

When will David Cameron make a similar, grovelling apology as his Deputy, Nick Clegg and say sorry for making a promise he was unable to keep? He promised to protect the NHS and he failed.

We may not have won the battle and stopped the Health and Social Care Bill from becoming law, but we know, the next Labour Government will, once again, do its best to restore the NHS to the institution it should be. Both Andy and Ed Miliband have made it clear that the first stage of that would be a repeal of the Health and Social Care Act.

I welcome this for my constituents in Barnsley Central and will continue to support them in campaigning to Save Our NHS.