Save Our NHS  in This Year's Election

Writes Southall Labour MP, Virendra Sharma

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In May’s General Election, notwithstanding all the headlines about other parties, voters will have a clear choice between the Tories and Labour. The starkness of that choice is clearest when looking at what the future holds for the NHS. The current meltdown in A&Es right across Britain shows what a disaster the Tory led government has been for the NHS and how disastrous it would be if they had another 5 years in charge.

Over the New Year period we have just had the worst ever performance in the NHS's history with only 79.8% of patients seen within the 95% four hour target at A&Es across the country. The situation in Ealing and NW London is even more dire. London North West Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Northwick Park, Central Middlesex, Ealing and St Mark’s hospitals, had the worst waiting times in England for the most serious emergencies, with just 68% of those patients being seen within four hours for the last 13 weeks of 2014 and an even lower 62% in the New Year.

We know that the recent A&E closures at Central Middlesex and Hammersmith Hospitals have contributed to these shocking figures and that other factors such as the difficulty for people to see their GP are driving more people to A&Es. At Prime Ministers Questions last week I challenged the Prime Minister and I was shocked by his complacency and totally dishonest spin. This is our exchange as recorded in Hansard:

Q7. Mr Virendra Sharma (Ealing, Southall) (Lab):

“Throughout the Christmas period, NHS staff worked tirelessly to see as many patients as they could, but increased waiting times at GP surgeries have forced more and more people to use A and E. Why does the Prime Minister not accept that Labour’s plan to employ 8,000 additional GPs is desperately needed and would make a real difference to the lives of my constituents?”

The Prime Minister: “…The health service has changed in Ealing: Hammersmith and Central Middlesex hospitals both have GP-led urgent care centres that are open 24 hours a day and are seeing more than 400 patients a day, 99% of whom are seen within four hours; and we also have the expansion of the A and E unit at Northwick Park hospital...”

The Prime Minister deliberately airbrushed out the closure of Central Middlesex and Hammersmith A&Es, tried to spin away the worst A&E performance in the country and made no mention of the impending closure of Ealing and Charing Cross A&Es. The Tory led government’s determination to close our remaining A&Es is scandalous and I and 7 other Labour MPs in NW London have written to the Health Secretary calling for these plans to be halted but the Prime Minister’s reply shows he will not listen.

Our treasured NHS is being dismantled by the Tory led government locally and across the country and A&E services are in chaos. Another five years of the Tories in charge of the NHS will lead to its death. For the NHS to survive people must vote Labour on 7 May. 


14th January 2015


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