Last week’s Autumn Statement from Chancellor George Osborne provided good news for the years ahead.
This good news included extra funding for the National Health Service which faces ever increasing demand, which is why I welcome the government providing an extra £2 billion for frontline NHS services in England in 2015-16. This is part of a multi-year extra £3.1 billion UK-wide investment in the NHS.
I am fortunate in that I’ve only ever needed to visit a doctor on three occasions in the last 30 years, but many people have a greater need and GP services are greatly valued and important to local communities.
This is why I very much welcome that an extra £1 billion will fund advanced care in GP practices over four years in England. Recognising the importance of prudent public spending, this money has come directly from fines collected by the Financial Conduct Authority from five banks for failures in foreign exchange trading.
It is also good to see that an extra £15 million will go into dementia research which we welcome in Crawley as a dementia-friendly town. Other areas of extra investment include £150 million over five years to support young people with eating disorders and £200 million will go to developing new ways of caring for patients.
As the population increases and as we live longer, the demands on the NHS will continue to grow.
If we are to receive good health care, we must have a strong economy and sound public finances that can finance these growing demands. Anyone can make promises of more spending, but only the Conservatives’ long-term economic plan will give us a strong economy for the long-term to pay for it.
If we were to go back to the reckless spending and damaging economic policies that Ed Miliband and Ed Balls enacted under the last Labour Government, we would ultimately see the NHS become unaffordable and unsustainable for us as a nation.
To protect our NHS, we must protect our economy, and that means not giving the keys back to the same people who crashed the economy last time.