MP Alan Campbell column: The NHS is in crisis and our healthcare system needs investment and reform

Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell.Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell.
Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell.
The government should not be clapping nurses one moment, and sacking them the next.

As parliament returns after the Christmas recess, there’s a sense of real crisis particularly in the NHS.

2023 will see the 75th anniversary of the setting up of the NHS but for many in healthcare, things have never seemed so bad.

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There are particular challenges like Covid and flu, but this crisis has been 13 years in the making.

That’s the backdrop to the current and unprecedented nurses strike.

The government is threatening to bring in new laws to curtail strikes but you can’t legislate your way out of a crisis which is 13 years in the making.

Healthcare professionals are already well aware of the risks inherent in withdrawing their labour and voluntarily put in place measures to keep the public safe.

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And how would it look to clap nurses one moment and sack them the next?

We need less rhetoric and more action by ministers to resolve the dispute.

Of course the NHS needs investment – which the government does claim is happening. But it also needs reform.

I saw what can happen when the NHS workforce is given the chance to innovate when last week I visited Northumbria Healthcare Trusts innovative supply hub in Seaton Delaval.

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Spurred into action by the PPE shortage during Covid, the hub now produces PPE not only for the trust, but for other trusts as well, creating local jobs producing high quality kit rather than relying on imported products.

It also shows what can happen when local bodies are given the freedom to innovate and decisions are made closer to where they have effect.

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