Labor’s shadow health secretary has warned that the government’s leveling agenda would be meaningless without a continued focus on improving the country’s health and without investment.
in an interview with Granthshala Before his speech at the party’s annual convention on Tuesday, Jonathan Ashworth said a new vision for the NHS, and for wider public health, if the country was to deal with inequalities that were made worse by the pandemic.
This should include tackling heart disease and focusing on nutrition and exercise in an effort to focus on the nation’s overall “well-being” in what he called an “obesogenic society”.
During his speech on Tuesday, Mr Ashworth will outline his concerns over the increased use of private providers, particularly in mental health care, and his fears over the emergence of a “two-tier” health system that benefits those who pay. can do .
“I am thinking about what we need to do for the future of the NHS, how do we reduce waiting lists, and it is not enough just to reduce them back to where they are pre-pandemic,” he said. were,” he said.
“Those desperate to seek care are waiting for unacceptable times. Sajid Javid has rubbished some of the NHS goals, but for cancer patients it is not nonsense, it is a matter of life and death.
He continued: “In this era where more people are developing the long-term condition, we need to get better at preventing poor health.
“We need a big push on overall wellness. It’s about building health. It’s not just about what the NHS does, but how we care for people from birth to their last breath.”
He cited the book by former NHS chief executive Lord Nigel Crisp, which describes health as “made at home” and says that “hospitals are in for repair”.
Mr Ashworth pointed to the key statistics on heart disease as a prime example of why more effort was needed. In the UK, almost twice the number of people living with cancer and Alzheimer’s combined have heart disease.
Similarly, half of people with high blood pressure are not receiving proper treatment or diagnosis. The British Heart Foundation has warned that the effects of the pandemic could lead to at least 12,000 additional heart attacks and strokes in the next five years.
Mr Ashworth said there needed to be a bigger push on all major public health problems, including what he described as our “obesogenic society”.
He said that the government’s plan to level the country will not work unless you raise the level of heart disease and keep people healthy at every stage of life.
Labor believes that the government’s Health and Care Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament and provides for a major reorganization of the NHS into 42 regional bodies, is a mistake, and that it is due to the increased use of private Together it will create a two-tier system. the provider.
Research by the House of Commons Library for Labor has found that nearly half of independent mental health services are currently rated as inadequate, or in need of improvement to protect, by the care monitoring body, the Care Quality Commission (CQC). . About 4 out of 5 specialist eating disorder beds for children and young people are provided by the private sector.
Mr Ashworth said: “Years of mental health care cuts and neglect force the NHS to access the private sector for poor quality care and beds.
“Quality, safe care should be a priority, and using these private institutions, which we know from the regulator, are inadequate, a shameful failure. [to protect] Some of the weakest in society. “
His remarks come after a series of scandals at private mental health hospitals, in which employees of a Signet Hospital in Essex were found slapping and kicking patients last year. A Suffolk mental health hospital was rated inadequate by the CQC after “elements of abuse” were found in the services provided by the hospital, which was part of the Priory Group.
Mr Ashworth said: “We think this is the wrong bill at the wrong time, and I would like to pull this bill out and bring out different laws.
“We know the scale of the backlog is huge, and we know that NHS staff are exhausted after the last 18 months. The NHS has been in crisis all summer, and only this week have we seen chemotherapy services in Nottingham Has started getting ration.
“I do not believe a restructuring of the NHS is sensible at this particular moment.”
The party has particular concern about the role of private sector organizations in new regional integrated care boards, as private companies may play a role in developing local health plans.
“This in itself has a direct ramification for patient safety,” warned Mr Ashworth, “we know that waiting lists are so rampant at the moment that people, out of desperation, turn to the private sector to pay. We are turning to operations, and we know from anecdotes that some people are taking loans and even mortgaging their homes.
“It’s a two-tiered system that’s opening up before our eyes at a time when [inquiry into rogue breast surgeon Ian Paterson] has not been implemented.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /