QA 1From difficulties in getting an appointment to see a GP, to our A&E department spending 134 days on ‘black alert’ and ambulance crews stuck outside QA Hospital when they should have been on call for other emergencies, Portsmouth people are not getting the health care they deserve.

We all know of someone who has struggled to see a doctor when they or their child was ill, but it’s not the doctor’s fault that it is sometimes difficult to get an appointment. It is because GP surgeries are being forced to close when doctors retire and cannot be replaced, or they are having to amalgamate with other surgeries to form large ‘Health Centres’.

All this leads to fear and uncertainty. There was a time not that long ago when we knew that we would be able to make a forward appointment to see a GP, but in some Portsmouth Health Centres this can be very difficult.

Why is this happening to our doctor’s surgeries?

Because many doctors are choosing not to become GPs, with all the stress, long hours and uncertainly involved. And some of our best junior doctors are struggling to remain positive about their work when they have been put on new contracts which will leave them over-tired and fearful of making mistakes with our care because of this.

QA hospital relies on nurses from all over the World, and yet less new nurses are being trained or wishing to continue working in the NHS. And who can really blame them? Not only have NHS training bursaries been cut so that students now have to take out a loan to cover their training, but for those who have qualified already, the system is under such strain that their working lives are incredibly stressful, and with real term cuts to nurses wages their income is not keeping up with the cost of living.

In fact, QA Hospital is struggling in all areas. It is struggling to find beds for new patients who need acute care and some operations have to be cancelled and yet the staff are working the hardest they have ever worked.

Why is this happening to our hospitals?

Because Tory Government cuts to social care mean that many patients have to stay in hospital longer because there is no nursing home accommodation for them. 240 people are stuck in beds every month. It is certainly not their fault and they don’t want to be there. It is Tory government cuts which have led to this dreadful situation.

The Tories are taking the country backwards to the days when most people feared being ill in case they couldn’t get the help they needed.

So what will Labour do to stop the decline of our Health service?

When the Tories fail to give the NHS funds they are making a choice to ignore our health care needs.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Labour will always give the NHS the money and support it needs. Labour will bring back training bursaries for nurses; it will ensure that public companies get a fair deal when tendering for NHS services, rather than allowing private companies to drain our NHS of money in their haste to make a profit, and Labour will give NHS staff and services real funds, rather than the much too little and much too late amounts that the Tories grudgingly hand out.

And to ensure better organisation and communication within our Health services, Labour will join up services from home to hospital. Health and social care need to work together, so they can work for you and your family.

Any Government should realise that their best investments are in their people and in those who care for people’s health, because when people are healthy they are working and contributing back into the economy. It makes perfect sense.

Running a Health Service should never be about profit. It should be about CARE.

As the founders of the NHS, Labour has always known this.

So, if you want to ensure that our NHS doesn’t collapse from Tory underfunding and that we get a FREE and integrated health service that we can rely on, the answer has to be VOTE LABOUR on June 8th!