Celebrating the NHS

We rightly celebrate one of Great Yarmouth’s most famous sons – James Paget – by naming our local hospital after this eminent surgeon and pathologist. From the humblest of backgrounds, he became a pioneer in the medical profession and surgeon to Queen Victoria. I’m sure he would never have imagined the health care system we enjoy in our country today.

That’s why we’ve recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the National Health Service re-affirming our commitment to our most loved national institution and this Government’s number one priority in public services. The Prime Minister set out a clear vision for the future of the NHS. A new five-year budget settlement will see the NHS receive an extra £600 million a week in funding by the end of this period.

The extra funding will come in part from the fact we will no longer pay EU membership fees after the transition period, in part from economic growth, and the country will also be asked to contribute a bit more towards the NHS in a fair and balanced way.

And rather than bureaucrats or politicians deciding how this money is spent, the plan will be led by clinicians – ensuring we have the right staff numbers and skills to deliver the care of the future. The plan will deliver new services and improved outcomes for patients. For example, new priorities could include ambitions to raise cancer survival rates to match the averages of France and Germany, move us towards new clinically defined access standards for mental health that are as ambitious as those in physical health, and ensure maternity safety is amongst the best in Europe

Do you remember all that election scaremongering? Let’s face it we hear the same warning before every election from some quarters. Yet, we have a Government actually delivering a massive change in NHS funding – surely, it’s finally time to stop trying to make the NHS a political football?