We have all heard the hollow promises from Ed Milliband on the NHS this week and his claims that he would spend more money on the health service (no suggestion of where this extra funding would come from of course) than the current Government.
It all sounds very different from 2010 when Labour’s spokesperson said ‘it would be irresponsible to increase NHS spending in real terms’.
So let’s be clear, whereas the Government has increased funding for the NHS in this Parliament by £12.7 billion, under Labour’s plans, we would have seen a real terms reduction in NHS spending.
However, moving on from the issue of finance it is worth looking at Labour’s record in the one part of the UK where they are currently in power: Wales.
The Labour-run NHS in Wales is lagging behind England on almost every measure, according to a shocking new report. The first comparative study between the two healthcare regimes reveals that patients in Wales are waiting far longer for vital tests and life-saving treatment than those in England, where the NHS is run by the Coalition government.
They are also likely to have to wait longer for an ambulance in an emergency and will be seen more slowly if they need to attend A&E.
Astonishingly, the target for treating cancer cases referred by GPs in Wales has not been met since the middle of 2008.
The study, produced by the respected House of Commons Library, is a devastating blow to Ed Miliband’s claim that only Labour can be trusted to run the NHS.
The report found that ambulance response times to life-threatening emergencies in Wales have worsened, despite a fall in the number of calls.
And the number of patients waiting more than the four-hour target time for A&E treatment is double that in England. Ed Miliband seeks to portray himself as the saviour of the NHS in England.
But in truth, the Welsh experience of a Labour-run health service has shown that they simply cannot be trusted anywhere near it.
If we want to see what a future Labour Government in Westminster would be like on the NHS, let’s ignore the rhetoric from Ed Milliband and the scaremongering from his local candidate and look at results – I’m afraid that the experience of Labour’s handling of the NHS in Wales should scare us all.
Mrs Louise Eastwood