The NHS is one of our greatest achievements but it’s struggling under a Tory-led government which wasted billions on an unnecessary top-down reorganisation.

One of the issues that local people regularly talk to me about is their struggle to see a GP. The nurses and doctors that serve our area do a great job but under the Tories one in four people now wait a week or more for a GP appointment. Our fantastic nurses and doctors know better than anyone the pressures our NHS is under and we need to do more to support them.

Because if your child is ill or if your elderly parent has been injured, you want to know that they will be seen and treated as soon as possible.

That’s why Ed Miliband has announced that the next Labour government will create a £2.5 billion a year NHS Time to Care Fund to save and transform our health service. We’ll support 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs, 5,000 more careworkers and 3,000 more midwives. By appointing these additional staff, our doctors and nurses will have the time they need to care properly for patients, as well as transforming services in communities and at home.

The next Labour government will balance the books by the end of the next Parliament so the Time to Care Fund will not be paid for through more borrowing or by raising taxes on everyday working people.

Instead, the money will be raised from a tax on houses worth over £2 million, a co-ordinated crackdown against tax avoidance, and by ensuring tobacco companies contribute towards the costs they impose on the NHS.

The Tories haven’t just destabilised our health service; they’re holding it back from meeting the challenges of the 21st century as well. We need a world-class health and care service that is equipped to address the modern challenges that come from an ageing population, more people living with chronic conditions, the rise of mental health, and a higher premium on preventing illness.

The NHS is going backwards under the Tories so there has never been a better or more important time to care about its future. Only Labour can be trusted to protect the NHS and with the Time to Care Fund, we’ll ensure we have a health service fit for the 21st century.

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