I am so grateful to our NHS and social care staff for their tireless work throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. They have been on the frontline, often risking their own health to care for our loved ones. A decade of Tory cuts and neglect left our health and care systems unprepared for the pandemic. Staff now face an incredibly difficult winter trying to clear record waiting lists whilst Covid-19 rates remain high.
It is shameful that in the middle of the biggest crisis the NHS has faced, the Government is rushing through an unnecessary top down reorganization in the Health and Care Bill. The Bill will do nothing to solve the NHS workforce crisis and will open the NHS up to increased privatisation by allowing profit-driven businesses to sit on local NHS boards.
The Bill also fails to deliver desperately needed reform of social care. The sector needs long-term sustainable funding and to be put on a parity of esteem with the NHS. More than 2 million people who are eligible for care are already not receiving any help at all with vacancies in the sector continuing to grow. Staff need a proper pay rise and the opportunity to build a career in social care.
The Bill is an unnecessary distraction from the urgent problems facing the NHS and social care sector. I will be voting against the Bill and will continue to call for the support our health and care staff need.