Like many people in Wyre Forest I’m fed up of this government undermining and underfunding our health service. An area of particular concern, which a number of people have raised with me, is waiting times for cancer tests which is why I’m proud that Labour will introduce a new one-week cancer test guarantee.
Unfortunately, many of us know someone who has suffered from cancer. It is a horrible disease that takes too many. We simply must do more to help those at risk of developing the disease.
Early diagnosis of cancer means treatment is more likely to be successful, yet more and more people are now being forced to wait longer for essential tests. The number of people waiting too long to get cancer tests are going up in our NHS region: Arden, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. In August this year, 218 patients waited longer than six weeks for cancer tests compared to 125 in the same month last year.
That’s why the next Labour government will ensure that NHS patients in England will wait no longer than one week for cancer tests and results by 2020. The cancer test guarantee will be made possible by £750 million of new investment over five years, raised through a new levy on tobacco firms which make huge profits from their products which cause so much ill-health.
The one-week cancer test guarantee forms part of Labour’s plan to ensure the NHS can meet the challenges of the 21st Century. We have already said we will guarantee GP appointments within 48 hours. And we have shown how our £2.5 billion Time to Care Fund will ensure the NHS has 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 GPs, 5,000 home care workers and 3,000 midwives so they have the time to care for you. The staff at Kidderminster Hospital do a great job but they need our help if the NHS is going to meet the health challenges of the 21st century.
The Tories haven’t just destabilised our health service; they’re holding it back from meeting the challenges of the modern world as well. We need a modern health and care service that offers the best cancer survival rate in Europe. Only Labour can be trusted to protect the NHS and with the Time to Care Fund and the one-week cancer test guarantee, we’ll ensure we have a health service fit for the 21st century.
Matt Lamb, Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Wyre Forest.