Responding to a study today linking 30,000 excess deaths to the Conservative government’s NHS and social care cuts and the British Medical Association’s call for £9.5bn upfront funding to secure the future of the health service, Keith Taylor MEP is calling on the government to put ‘the NHS before nuclear’ and halt nearly £250bn worth of ‘nuclear folly’.
NHS spending under the Conservative government is at its lowest since the 1950s and, at the same time, the service has been asked to make £22bn worth of cuts. Cuts which are responsible for 30,000 excess deaths according to researchers from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Oxford University and Blackburn with Darwen council – an unprecedented rise in mortality.
Underfunding and secretive sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) will see thousands of NHS beds slashed across the country, cutting NHS capacity by more than 5 million patients every year, scores of A&E departments closed or downgraded and the loss of vital maternity care services in regions across England.
At the same time, the government has given the green light to the renewal of Trident with an estimated price tag of £205bn; is pushing ahead with the £37bn ‘white elephant’ that is Hinkley , and look increasingly likely that it will be forced to take in a stake, anything upwards of £7bn, in the faltering nuclear projects in Moorside and Wylfa.
Keith Taylor, Green MEP for the South East and a member of the European Union’s Public Health Committee, believes it is time to prioritise the NHS over nuclear. He said:
“This situation is ridiculous; we have a Government more concerned with blowing £250bn on its nuclear follies rather than safeguarding the health of the British people.”
“We don’t need Trident; we can’t use it; we can’t afford it. Is Theresa May prepared to argue that we need the capacity to murder millions more than we need a functioning healthcare system to look after our sick and vulnerable?”
“We don’t need Hinkley either; costs are spiralling, offshore wind will be cheaper, and the risks don’t bear thinking about. Nor do we need Moorside or Wylfa; the developers have no confidence in the projects and neither should we; taxpayers look likely to pick up the tab as investors continue to walk away.”
“What we do need is a fully funded, truly public NHS. As the world’s fifth largest economy, we can afford so much better. We must provide the British people with the social and hospital care service they deserve.”
“The Tories continue to demonstrate why they are the biggest threat to our beloved NHS. Brexiteer Ministers Liam Fox, Boris Johnson, and David Davis, who were promising an extra £350m a week for our health services should we vote to leave the EU, are now overseeing the cuts that are pushing our NHS into crisis.”
“With a demoralised, woefully under-resourced workforce, a ‘7-day plan’ exposed as a cynical ploy to open up services to further privatisation, and an incompetent Health Secretary in charge of bankrupting our proudest public service; it is clearer than ever that this government cannot be trusted with the NHS.”
“In the short-term, we must halt our nuclear follies and put our NHS first. I’m urging the Government to put our NHS before nuclear. In the long-term, to have any hope of restoring a well-funded and truly public health service, politicians must come together to support the cross-party NHS Reinstatement Bill.”