Wes Streeting MP column: Fighting to save local NHS services is my new year’s resolution

PUBLISHED: 12:00 14 January 2017

Wes Streeting MP.

Wes Streeting MP.

Vickie Flores/Archant

Under the Tories, the “NHS winter crisis” has become something of an annual fixture, but this year the toxic combination of under-funding and increasing demand has led to the British Red Cross declaring a humanitarian crisis.

That a charity, so respected for its work in some of the worst disaster zones around the world, should be forced to step in to provide relief to our ambulance services and hospitals is a damning indictment of this government’s policies.

Ministers were warned. Not just by opposition politicians, myself included, who said before Christmas that the health and social care system was at a tipping point. Some of the most respected and influential figures in health and social care urged the government to act to prevent the system from buckling under the pressure.

Now we have the Royal Society of Acute Medicine warning that we’re facing the worst January in the history of the NHS and the Royal College of GPs speaking out about demand for appointments overwhelming our GP surgeries.

Meanwhile, plans are being drawn up to close the A&E unit at King George Hospital. Before Christmas, I delivered 80,000 petition sheets to every home in my constituency, with the help of a fantastic team of volunteers. We already have over 10,000 signatures calling for King George A&E to be saved.

This is a mess of the government’s making. I’m making fighting to protect our local NHS services one of my new year’s resolutions. I hope you do, too.

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