Candidate backs plans for more nurses

Northumberland Health and Wellbeing Board chairman Scott Dickinson, who spent a day with paramedics.
Northumberland Health and Wellbeing Board chairman Scott Dickinson, who spent a day with paramedics.

Labour’s candidate for the Berwick constituency has backed his party’s plans to recruit 20,000 more nurses by 2020, including 1,300 in the North East.

If in power after May’s eleciton, Labour has said it will provide much-needed extra nurses to help ensure safe staffing in hospitals and provide personalised care outside hospitals – ‘helping to transform services so the NHS can meet the care needs of the 21st century’.

These extra nurses will be funded through the Time to Care Fund, raised from a mansion tax on properties of more than £2million, cracking down on tax avoidance and a new levy on tobacco firms.

Labour candidate Scott Dickinson, who is also chairman of Northumberland’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “Our health service is in crisis under the Tories. The NHS as we know it cannot survive another five years of David Cameron.

“If we want a world-class NHS then we need enough nurses with the time to care for patients. That’s why I’m proud that the next Labour government will bring in the Time to Care fund which will see north Northumberland benefit from more nurses.

“The truth is that only Labour can save the NHS from the Tories. Our plan is a blueprint to raise standards of care and ensure our health service is sustainable in the 21st century.”

Andy Burnham, Shadow Health Secretary, said: “David Cameron has brought the NHS to the brink. There are too few staff on our wards, the bill for agency nurses is out of control and hospitals are forced to travel overseas to recruit nurses because of Cameron’s cuts to nurse training places.

“This cannot carry on. Labour will recruit more nurses in every region of England including 1,300 in North East. We want this new generation of nurses to be home-grown and will offer young people a new ladder into the NHS. This will help build an NHS with time to care, that starts in people’s homes, ends the scandal of 15-minute visits and helps keep people out of hospital.”

A Conservative spokesman said: “Ed Miliband thinks he can spend the same money twice over. Earlier he said he would use this revenue to cut the deficit, but now he’s saying he would use it for the NHS.

“Unfunded spending commitments like these would bring back economic chaos to Britain, putting our NHS at risk. Greece was forced to cut its health budget by 14 per cent, because – like Ed Miliband – it forgot about the deficit. That’s why he is simply not up to the job.”