Jon Ashworth Election 2017


Jon Ashworth

Live coverage of a speech by shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth at a Labour party campaign event in London, Monday 15 May.


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Transcript


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We have a Home Secretary, utterly complacent, and the Prime Minister

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utterly dismissive of the needs of the NHS. I am not surprised the

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Health Secretary is on the run, hiding away, trying to run away from

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his record as Health Secretary. When you look at what has happened to the

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IT budgets in the NHS, the capital infrastructure budgets have been

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cut, and the independent expert at the NA oh published a report

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recently which showed 1 billion has been taken out of infrastructure

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budgets and had to be transferred to the day-to-day running of the NHS to

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help it balance its books. -- the NAO published a report. That is ?1

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billion that could have been spent on infrastructure of our NHS

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including upgrading our IT systems. I am not surprised that the Health

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Secretary is running away from his record on the NHS. And just here in

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this part of London just a few days ago St George's warned in the

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minutes from a trust meeting that because of a lack of investment in

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the infrastructure that is cyber security attack was a risk, and

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indeed in the last few days, I understand St George's has been on

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alert taking patients from other parts of London because of the cyber

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security scandal. Today across the country we are getting reports that

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it is affecting GP surgeries. Though let me say this. The government

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should now publish the Department of Health's risk registers so we can

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all see whether the government were prepared for this cyber security

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attack, whether they understood the implications of their spending cuts.

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But I also want to say something else. You know the NHS has been

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going through the biggest financial squeeze in its history under these

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Tories. Head for head next year the NHS will be cut. ?1 billion that was

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taken out of last year's infrastructure budgets and

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is due to be taken out of is due to be taken out of

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infrastructure budgets again by 2020. This isn't good enough. My

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first announcement here today is to say to you that a Labour government

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will put the investment into the infrastructure our NHS needs. We

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will put ?10 billion into the infrastructure of the NHS and some

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of that, yes, will go to upgrading and security our IT systems in the

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NHS as well. It is a pleasure to be here with a junior doctor and to

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talk to you because next year is the 70th birthday of the National Health

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Service. It wasn't -- wasn't the creation of the National Health

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Service one of the greatest creations of a Labour government?

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Created an enduring and unshakeable principles, free at the point of

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need irrespective of wealth, need irrespective of wealth,

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therefore everyone when you need it. -- there for everyone when you need

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it. And get on it 70th birthday, and of these Conservatives, waiting

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lists climbing towards 4 million, and we have seen from the leaked

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could rise to as high as 5 million could rise to as high as 5 million

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under the Tories. 2.5 million people last year waiting beyond four hours

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in A departments. 26,000 people, 26,000 people waiting beyond two

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months for cancer treatment. Under the Tories. And next year if the

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Conservatives are elected in this country head forehead the money

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going into the NHS will be cut again. -- head for head. On the eve

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of the NHS's birthday let's give the NHS a birthday present. I am

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announcing today that a Labour government will put over ?30 billion

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extra over the next five years into our National Health Service.

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And that money, that money will go into reducing the waiting lists, so

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whereas waiting lists could rise by 1 million under the Tories, and

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Labour we are going to decrease the waiting by 1 million. Also in our

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A departments 2.5 million people last year waited beyond four hours.

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This extra investment will ensure that we treat 1 million extra people

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in our A departments across the country. And on cancer times, 26,000

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people waiting beyond two months for cancer treatment, it is a disgrace,

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it is not good enough. Though our extra investment will allow us to

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introduce a new target. The majority of people with cancer will get their

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treatment is not within two months, but within four weeks under a Labour

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government. But I want to go further as well because I think with this

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scale of funding we can do a lot more in our National Health Service.

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Many of you will have seen the reports in the news about so-called

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delayed discharge. This is where elderly people are often literally

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trapped in hospitals with nowhere to go because there isn't the

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appropriate provision in the community, there isn't the

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appropriate care packages as we call it across the NHS. It is not good

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enough. The way we are treating our elderly people is shameful. With

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this extra investment I will be asking the NHS to work with us to

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introduce a new target for delayed discharge. Elderly people trapped in

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hospitals should be a thing of the past. If an elderly person is

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available for discharge, we will ensure the community care is there

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and we will have a new target that we want 80% of people discharged

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from hospital within a week with a care package that is appropriate.

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That is the difference between Labour and the Tories on the NHS.

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You can clap if you want! And also because we are putting this money in

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and we want to reform the NHS, I think we can go further on A as

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well. Again we will work with the NHS to have a new target for our A

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departments. The most serious people who present at A, the most serious

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conditions, we will work with NHS clinicians and others to put in

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place a special target so people with the most serious of conditions

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and the most urgent of conditions can be treated within one hour in

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our hospitals. Again that is the difference between Labour and the

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Tories on the NHS. But I have some further announcements because with

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this level of funding that we are putting into the NHS, I think we can

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do even more. So I as the Shadow Health Secretary have already

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announced that I want us as a country to have the healthiest

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children in the world. When you look at the league tables for child

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health from obesity to asthma to dental health and all the various

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indicators, we are far too low down the international comparators. We

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will put money into improving child health as well. And I have got

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something else to tell you. You will have seen the reports as we said of

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nurses literally turning up at food banks on the way home from work. It

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is shameful. So a Labour government will get rid of the pay cap and will

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give our nurses and midwives and everyone who works in the NHS of

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their pay rise as well. -- a fair pay rise as well. But as Rosanna

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said, we have just come out of possibly one of the worst winters

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for 20 years. Some people called it a humanitarian crisis. Some people

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have said the NHS was like being on a burning platform. We have heard

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stories of ambulances backed up. We have heard stories of people waiting

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hours upon hours on trolleys in corridors. We now talk of corridor

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care in the NHS. Some hospitals have even put buzzers in the corridors to

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treat patients. We all heard stories this winter. Many people got in

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touch with me. A woman got in touch with me telling me she had been

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waiting nine months for a knee replacement. She was about to go in

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and then she got a phone call cancelling the operation. Another

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woman got in touch with me via email. He said she had a secondary

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tumour in her stomach and she was a mother of four and her operation had

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just been cancelled. This was the NHS this winter. Things were so bad

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that the gymnasium in the hospital in Jeremy Hunt's constituency got

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turned into award, and yet when all this was going on, all these

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operations cancelled, all these people waiting on trolleys, Theresa

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May and the Tories said it was nothing more than a small number of

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incidents. We should call it what it actually was. A badge of shame for

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this country. And I can announce today that I never ever want to see

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a winter like that again. So as part of the funding we are allocating to

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the NHS today, we will allocate a ?500 million fund for winter in our

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NHS we never have a winter like the winter we have just had this year in

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the NHS. The reason I am making these announcements is because we as

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a Labour government will always put patients first. We as a Labour

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government and I is the Health Secretary will always take

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responsibility for the NHS, never running scared, never vanishing,

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always out there, speaking out, making the case on behalf of our

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patients. When you look at the history of our party, we are party

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who has always taken responsibility for the NHS. One of my favourite

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poet WB Yeats wrote in dreams Begin responsibilities, and we as a party

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dreamed of an NHS freak at the point of use, available to all respective

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of means. -- free at the point of use. We took a responsibility to

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bring it about. In our history as a party we have always stepped in to

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give the NHS what it needs, to rebuild it are times when it has

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been pushed back, because we take responsibility. I will take

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responsibility. And the choice in this election is now absolutely

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clear. It is either a fair pay rise for NHS staff with Labour or poverty

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with the Tories. It is investment with Labour or cuts to the NHS with

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the Tories. It is 1 million of the waiting list with Labour or 1

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million added to the waiting list with the Tories. This election is

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about the future of the NHS. Let's get out there, let's make the

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argument and lets win it for the patients who deserve so much better.

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Thank you very much. Thank you so very much, everyone,

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for coming. It is wonderful to have you here and to hear what the Labour

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Party are promising for our future. Have a wonderful morning. Thank you.

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Thank you, Peter, good morning, everyone. Thank you for coming

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along. This is a most unusual election. Not only does the outcome

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not appear to be in doubt but most commentators do not think the result

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is even going to be close, so it couldn't be more different

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