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It's OUR NHS, not Labour's or its Trade Union paymasters

February 22, 2015 10:57 AM
By Robin Ashby

What could be nastier than Mr Miliband's threat (to Andrew Marr of the BBC) that Labour are planning to "weaponise" the NHS in the run-up to the General Election. In other words, he intends to play on the worries of the sickest and elderly and most vulnerable people in society for Labour's party political advantage.

This threat is carried though in a recent newsletter from Newcastle North MP Catherine McKinnell. It quotes weeks of waiting to see a GP. This is absolutely not the case in Newcastle. Last time I went to see my GP before Christmas, it was 90 minutes after I rang up asking for an appointment. The time before that it was 45 minutes. This is an unbelievably good service - it couldn't be bettered under any false promises.

The RVI was exemplary when my grandchild was born ten weeks premature, threatening her mother's life - she's now a lively 4 year old, thanks to our NHS and the support of the Tiny Lives charity - which grateful parents and grandparents are always ready to support.

It is a low trick to use scaremongering tactics in a desperate attempt to achieve power. The reality of the NHS is that more people than ever before are being treated; with better than ever medical science and practices; by the kindest and most caring, and most professional doctors and nurses and health workers in the world.

We are incredibly lucky to have such a brilliant NHS, and most people realise and acknowledge that fact. Whenever the NHS is raised on doorsteps, the answer to the question "Oh, have you had a bad experience, then?" is inevitably "No, on the contrary. I/my family were looked after extremely well. I have no complaints, but I am just worried about what I hear on the TV."

The NHS will NOT be privatised by any Government now or in the future, and it is disgraceful party political scaremongering to suggest otherwise. Even though the Liberal Democrats in Coalition have helped to pump more than £10 billion into the NHS, there is always more that could be done with new technology and for an aging population, which is why we have promised another £8 billion from any future government of which we are members.

But no party - no person - has any kind of monopoly on correctness about how to achieve that. All we need to is glance at the Labour-run NHS in Wales to see that they are in no position to crow about it. It's not their NHS, it belongs to, and is paid for by, all of us.

The truth is that in the old days we retired at 65 years of age and died at 70, so costing the nation a modest amount in our old age. Now that many more of us are living to be 100, and with the way medical science has developed to such an astonishing degree, we are as a society going to have to find a way to pay for our beloved NHS. A smaller and smaller proportion of the population are working and creating wealth, and a higher and higher proportion using the services of the NHS, long-term care and benefits of all kinds.

Sooner or later we will have to find some way of balancing the nation's books so we can continue to fund our brilliant NHS. No-one can pay for anything unless their own house is in order, as Labour wilfully fail to acknowledge when trying to ignore it was them that got us into this morass of debt and recession.

So let's not weaponise the NHS, Mr Miliband and Mrs McKinnell. Let us find ways to preserve and improve this jewel in Britain's crown, which is and always will be free at the point of use if the Liberal Democrats have any say in the matter, and let's start by continuing to sort out the economy so that can continue to pay for what I and many others believe to be the finest health care in the world.

Robin Ashby

Liberal Democrat Councillrs for Parklands Ward