Jo McCarron, Labour's Parliamentary Candidate for Kingswood, spoke to delegates at Labour's Annual Conference in Manchester about the importance of rebuilding trust following a series of broken NHS promises locally and nationally.
Jo was moving a motion submitted by Kingswood CLP and Bristol North West CLP reaffirming Labour's commitment to protecting our health service - the motion passed unanimously by delegates.
Here is the full text of Jo's speech:
"I am Jo McCarron, CLP delegate for Kingswood, Bristol, and standing to be the next MP for Kingswood.
It is a huge honour to be moving this motion on behalf of everybody who wants to save the NHS from Tory destruction.
Let me tell you what’s been happening to a couple of hospitals in my area.
A few years ago, Cossham Hospital was under threat of closure. But after a hard fought campaign, not only was it saved – we secured a £19million refurbishment from the last Labour Government. This was thanks to the hard work of residents, Labour councillors, and the former Labour MP, Roger Berry.
It was testament to what can be achieved when we pull together.
But do you know, when Cossham Hospital re-opened there were two empty rooms. The Minor Injuries Unit was missing. It was promised, but it’s nowhere to be seen.
But luckily we have an amazing group of campaigners – the Save Cossham Group. Together we have been working to make sure local people are heard.
I have been blown away by the team’s hard work and determination. And even more than that, by the public response to our petition at street stalls, on the doors and at the meetings and rallies we have called.
Last week the Save Cossham Group and I presented the petition, with 16,000 signatures.
So it’s clear, people in Kingswood are passionate about their local health services.
But this isn’t only about health – it’s also about broken promises.
There had been another promise that nearby Frenchay hospital would be protected as a ‘community hospital’.
Since then a raft of the services that were supposed to be delivered were scrapped – that, despite the Conservative MP, Chris Skidmore, saying he had already made sure the community hospital would be delivered. He said it was job done. I guess he’s hoping nobody will notice that most of Frenchay has actually closed.
People feel betrayed, ignored, let down. Uncertainty and betrayal isn't good for anybody's health.
What’s at stake above all is trust, and not just in Kingswood but across the country. People’s faith that promises count for something, that they won’t be taken for a ride.
Do you remember David Cameron promising that his number one priority was the National Health Service?
Well I think he might need a reminder.
He said he would stand up for the NHS.
Well, the reality is that his Government has piled pressure on our health service
- Cutting thousands of nurses
- Slashing social care for the elderly and vulnerable
- Closing walk in centres
- Wasting billions on a reorganisation no professional health body wanted and no-one voted for
The result is patients waiting longer for treatment, longer for GP appointments, longer in ambulance queues.
And now we have Conservative MPs talking about charging patients. Is that their plan to ease the strain the health service is under? Attacking the basic founding principle of our NHS.
Free at the point of use. Available to all.
David Cameron’s NHS promises have counted for nothing.
The truth is, that is bad not just for the Tories, but for politics as a whole.
Labour has a plan to rebuild our NHS,
Repealing the Health and Social Care Act, that diverts money for health care into private company profits.
Investing in frontline staff. 8,000 more GPs. 20,000 more nurses.
But people need to know that they can trust us to deliver.
We need to show week-in week-out that we are already making a difference.
And we are, in Kingswood alongside the Save Cossham Group, and in constituencies up and down the country, fighting to protect local NHS facilities.
So let's get out and keep up the fight. It’s now or never.
And I say to the Tories – just as surely as you have been closing down walk-in centres, come next May, it will be you walking out the door."