Eddie has today welcomed a £2bn blitz to help NHS patients and doctors. The doctors, the nurses, the managers of the NHS — they are all doing great things. And yet anyone who works in or who uses the NHS is aware of the pressures, the delays, the cancellations and the obvious need to get more funding to the front line.
Which is why the Prime Minister is so determined to deliver now on the promises of that 2016 referendum campaign : not just to honour the will of the people, but to increase the cash available for this amazing national institution.
It is great that the last Conservative government found another £34bn, and it is the immediate task of this new government to make sure that this cash makes a real difference to the lives of doctors and nurses and above all of patients. We have increased the number of out of hour appointments in Willenhall, Bloxwich and Walsall - but more must be done.
It cannot be right, for instance, that people are waiting so long to see their GP ; and it cannot be right that so many GPs and consultants are leaving the service, or cutting their hours, for fear of whopping tax bills . It is clear that something has gone badly wrong in the taxation of doctors’ pensions. So this government is listening. We are fixing it. We are changing the rules so that doctors no longer face a perverse incentive to reduce hours.
This new government is helping good GPs to stay in their jobs — because it is my job to make sure you don’t have to wait three weeks to see your GP. And if you ask where the money is coming from, there is only one sensible answer. Like every penny of public spending, NHS funding derives from a strong and dynamic market economy. And the reason the Conservatives have managed the NHS for 44 of its 71 years is that Conservatives understand the balance and symmetry at the heart of the UK: between the wealth-creating forces of the free market on the one hand and great public services on the other. It is thanks to this country’s strong economic performance that we are now able to announce £1.8bn more for the NHS to buy vital new kit and confirm new upgrades for 20 hospitals across the country.