Labour’s plan will promote good health and help to prevent ill health. We will join up health and care services to help people to stay living independently in their own homes, which is better for families and better value for taxpayers’ money. We will give people more control over the services they use and new rights, such as the right to see a GP within 48 hours, the guarantee of a maximum one week wait for cancer tests, one-to-one care from a midwife for every woman during labour and childbirth and a new right to talking therapies. We will truly put mental health on a par with physical health, and we will help people to help themselves through bold action on public health. These changes will be underpinned the investment of an additional £2.5 billion in the NHS each year to pay for 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs, 5,000 more homecare workers and 3,000 more midwives.
We’re making real progress in the fight against cancer – survival rates have doubled in the last 40 years. Cancer Research UK are at the forefront of this battle, raising awareness, developing new and better treatments and improving care.
I recently visited one of the charity’s pioneering research centres at the University of Leicester. I saw how the study of proteins has the potential to unlock new treatments that are much more targeted than conventional therapies. I also heard Margaret Chandler’s story. She beat cancer and is now campaigning for quicker diagnosis and better emotional and practical support for cancer sufferers.
Labour’s guarantee of cancer tests and results within one week will make a real difference. I’m also supporting Cancer Research UK’s Cross it Out Campaign to put the fight against cancer at the top of the agenda as we go into the General Election.
- A strong economic foundation: Balance the books and cut the deficit every year while securing the future of the NHS. None of our manifesto commitments require additional borrowing.
- Higher living standards for working families: Freeze energy bills until 2017 and give the regulator the power to cut bills this winter, ban exploitative zero-hours contracts, raise the minimum wage to £8 and provide 25 hours free childcare a week.
- An NHS with the time to care: 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs. We will join up services from home to hospital, guaranteeing GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week.
- Controls on immigration: People who come here won’t be able to claim benefits for at least two years and we will introduce fair rules making it illegal for employers to undercut wages by exploiting workers.
- A country where the next generation can do better than the last: Tuition fees reduced to £6,000, an apprenticeship for every school leaver who gets the basic grades, and smaller class sizes for 5, 6 & 7 year-olds.
I was delighted to join Father Martin Hardy and the congregation at St Patrick’s Catholic Church on Beaumont Leys Lane for the annual St Patrick’s Day Mass. This event is always a highlight in my calendar each year. We reflected on the foremost patron saint of Ireland and celebrated the huge contribution the Irish community makes to our city, country and the world. And of course, St Patrick’s Parish wouldn’t be St Patrick’s Parish without a spot of céilí dancing.