St Albans Liberal Democrats call for solution to NHS crisis
- Credit: Archant
St Albans Liberal Democrats have called for a cross-party solution to solve the crisis facing the NHS, arguing that it is “too important to be left to party politics”.
The call for action to tackle the dual problems of funding shortages and the haemorrhaging of staff came from the local launch of the Lib Dems’ nationwide NHS at 70 campaign, celebrating the anniversary of the creation of the National Health Service.
Lib Dem parliamentary spokesperson Daisy Cooper, who organised the meeting, said: “The NHS is the product of a truly cross-party consensus.
“The war-time coalition government created the opportunity for cross-party thinking; the Liberal economist William Beveridge came up with the idea of the NHS; all three parties endorsed the idea in their 1945 manifestos, and the Labour government ran with it.
“It was a cross-party effort that gave birth to the NHS, and it will be a cross-party effort that will save it.”
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Dr Peter Carter, former chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, explained that there are currently 40,000 nurse vacancies across the country, and the number of district nurses has fallen from 12,000 in 2004 to 6,500 today.
He also said that while the health service has been able to eradicate lots of illnesses, these have been replaced by ‘lifestyle’ diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.
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Leyla Hannbeck, chief pharmacist at the St Albans-based National Pharmacy Association, said: “The role of community pharmacies has grown exponentially since the NHS was established.
“Today, community pharmacies can offer flu jabs, obesity management programmes and can be the first port of call for many common illnesses. But government cuts and rising business rates are putting many community pharmacies at risk.
“I’m originally from Finland but moved to the UK to work here, contribute and improve health in our community. I’ve worked in some Scandinavian countries that have good health care systems but the NHS is something else!
“But the Brexit vote has created a lot of uncertainty and I know health worker colleagues who are now thinking about leaving the UK.”