It was great to hear Labour Leader Ed Miliband put an integrated health service that brings together mental health, physical health and social care at the heart of our plans for government.
With 3,000 more midwives, 5,000 more care workers, 8,000 more GPs, and 20,000 more nurses we will be able to reverse the Tory dismantling of our NHS and create a service fit for the 21st century.
I know from talking to people across Liverpool and up and down the country as Shadow Public Health Minister that the top-down reorganisation of the NHS imposed by the Tory-led government isn’t working. It is making it harder for people to get the support and treatment they need when and where they need it.
Already, one in four people can’t get to see their GP within a week. Waiting lists for treatment are at their highest level for six years. Too many people with mental health problems are left without access to talking treatments. Home visits from care staff are often limited to just 15 minutes.
As Ed Miliband told conference: ‘Just imagine what another five years of David Cameron would mean for our National Health Service. We are not going to let it happen, our NHS is too precious, too important and we will not let it happen.’
That is why, as Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham confirmed today, our first task in government will be to repeal the Tories’ Health and Social Care Act.
A Labour government will guarantee GP appointments in 48 hours. We will give women a right to a home birth, older people the right to care at home and people at the end of their lives the right to die at home in dignity surrounded by the people they love.
Hospital trusts and other NHS bodies will evolve into NHS integrated care organisations, providing consistent care from the home to the hospital.
We will have mental health nurses and therapists at the heart of the NHS, no longer the poor relation on the fringes. We will ensure that mental health is treated with the same importance as physical health.
We will pay for our plans by raising £2.5 billion for an NHS Time to Care Fund, not from everyday working people but by ensuring that tax avoiders play by the rules, and asking those at the top to pay more.
We will raise tax on high value properties worth more than £2 million, clamp down on tax avoidance schemes and introduce fees on tobacco companies.
An integrated service that brings together mental, physical and care services delivered to where people need them, when they need is the real alternative that Labour will offer in May 2015.
We built the NHS. We will save the NHS and transform it for the future.