I want to say a huge thank you to all of you who have supported the #welovethenhs campaign.
I have been profoundly moved by the enormous groundswell of support for the NHS in the last few days. A genuinely National Health Service – introduced by a Labour government in the teeth of opposition from the Conservatives and the medical establishment – is one of our nation’s finest achievements.
So it is understandable that the Conservative leadership have tried to distance themselves from those in Tory ranks who criticise the NHS.
But the reason why their comments have generated so much anger is that they spoke to a larger truth.
That truth is that there are two Tory faces on the NHS. Behind all the recent talk of commitment, the party has not truly been reformed. Despite all their talk of reform, the Conservatives still put special interests before patients’ interests.
The Conservatives say they are committed to the NHS but they would scrap our guarantees for patients – including the guarantee to see a specialist within 2 weeks if your GP suspects you may have cancer.
The Conservatives say they are committed to the NHS but they would scrap our agreement with the GPs that means nearly three quarters of practices now offer extended opening hours.
The Conservatives say they are committed to the NHS but they would let hospitals mortgage their own assets – even though they admit this brings the risk of financial failure.
I will not stand by and see the NHS and its brilliant staff denigrated and undermined, whether that’s by the right wing in the United States or by their friends in the British Conservative Party.
This is not just a debate for this week. It is central to everything we believe in and care about. And I am determined to take the fight to the Tories, not just today, but in the weeks and months ahead.
Thank you for backing our NHS.