Frank Field MP
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This winter has laid bare the deep distress in which the NHS finds itself.

This winter has laid bare the deep distress in which the NHS finds itself.

Hospitals often struggle to meet the extra demand for their services over the Christmas and New Year period. But it feels as though they are that much closer to breaking point this year than at any time in recent decades.  

A&E departments are overwhelmed and operations are being cancelled. Ambulances are queuing round the block unable to deliver patients to hospital buildings.  

As your MP, it riles me that no political party has fully faced up to the challenge of saving the NHS as we know it. 

Labour has at least identified the need to treat as many people as possible outside of hospital. Freeing up more staff to work outside hospitals is one of the ways we can make the NHS more efficient to best meet patients’ needs. 

Our minor injuries unit here in Birkenhead is an excellent example of this, helping as it does to ease at least some of the strain on Arrowe Park. 

But without urgent action in Westminster such bold moves will resemble a sticking plaster over a gaping wound. 

The NHS is staring into a huge financial black hole which is set to reach £30 billion by 2020. 

That’s why I’ve made a plea to each of the political parties to pluck up the courage to save the nation’s most cherished institution, by totally reforming the National Insurance system. 

We will need an immediate increase in NI contributions, tied to a serious drive for efficiency in the NHS, and a bigger say for voters over how their NI contributions are spent. 

Should the next government duck these choices, I fear, the NHS as we know it will be lost.
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