Before becoming an MP I thought I knew quite a bit about the health issues we face as a society and the challenges our NHS has in adapting to meet them. But after spending quality time with the people charged with leading our hospitals, then observing and talking to doctors, nurses and staff as they care for patients within such a complex organisation, I realised I had a great deal more to learn (and still do).

Over the years I have had the privilege of being your MP I have met repeatedly with staff and Chief Executives alike, and year by year I have seen the results of continued Conservative Austerity increasing pressure on one of our most valued institutions.

I will always remember my first visit as MP to the A&E department, the head nurse, Adam, kindly allowed me to observe. An ambulance was en route and had radioed ahead alerting them to the complex needs of their patient. I saw the best of our NHS when a team of no less than 16 specialist clinicians gathered to be ready for the patient. The head nurse, an A&E consultant, two trauma nurses, a surgeon, an obstetrician, and a nurse wearing lead protective gear with mobile x-ray equipment were just some of the team. The patient arrived into the resuscitation room carried by two paramedics who calmly briefed the awaiting team. On television these situations are full of noise and chaos, but in reality it was calm, purposeful, and perfectly coordinated.

As clothes were carefully cut away revealing obvious fractures and several open wounds and terrible bruising, the paramedic explained that the patient was in her 90’s and had fallen down a flight of stairs. A nurse whispered to me, ‘I always say to myself at times like these, ‘this is someone’s mum and she deserves the care I would want for my mum’. A tearful moment for me, but who wouldn’t be moved by witnessing our staggeringly caring and professional NHS staff?

Since then, pressures on the NHS have only increased. As such I am proud to support the 2017 Labour Manifesto’s pledges to alleviate pressure on the NHS through real increases in funding. Labour will commit to over £30 billion in extra funding over the next Parliament and will halt and review the NHS ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’, which are looking at closing health services across England.

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