MPs handle a lot of enquires from residents, and over recent years a lot of people have told me about their NHS experience, both good and bad.
The NHS is loved and, for the most part, does a great job.
But I know from the many people I have called on just in the last six months – over 2,000 – and the many who have sent back surveys I leave with residents – that the NHS is a big worry.
Alarm bells ring when a pensioner calls, 94 years of age and on several medications, unable to get a GP appointment for two weeks.
MPs start to ask questions when ambulances don’t meet their response times for weeks on end.
This is a target for how quickly they will reach your relative who may have collapsed at home or at work and may need life-saving treatment.
During my time as your MP, I was very proud how the NHS improved, and how quickly people could get routine operations.
People who once waited 18 months for cataract operations, would say to me “Caroline, I’m having that eye done in four weeks time, and I’ve booked the next one for eight weeks time, after my holiday.”
We also created new walk-in centres, which saw millions of working people going to their doctors in the evenings or weekends, reducing time off work.
People unsure could ring NHS Direct and have a nurse advise them.
Now, the Government has cut adult social care, abolished NHS Direct, closed almost one in four walk-in centres and wasted over £15million in South Yorkshire alone on NHS reorganisation.
I want an NHS with the time to care through 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs.
I want guaranteed GP appointments within 48 hours and cancer tests within one week.
And I want this paid for through fairer taxes on properties worth over £2 million, on hedge funds, and on tobacco companies. No extra debt for Government – just new priorities.
I support a ‘Time to Care’ fund used to train and hire thousands of NHS staff and deal with this growing NHS problem.
Lastly, I want a ten year NHS plan to integrate services from home to hospital to help end 15-minute adult social care slots, with 5,000 new homecare workers to help those with the greatest needs.
As your MP, I will continue to champion an NHS with the time to care, that we can all be proud of.
*Caroline’s next advice surgeries are held at various locations around her Don Valley constituency on most Fridays. Call 01302 623330 for full details and to make an appointment.