By GRAHAME ANDERSON
In a hard hitting speech marking the 70th anniversary of the NHS Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will set out Labour’s vision for its future.
On a Sunday visit to the birthplace of NHS founder Aneurin Bevan, Tredegar in Wales, he will talk about the need to transform the economy and living conditions if we are serious as a nation about improving the country’s health.
Asian Sunday understands Mr Corbyn will castigate what his party has called the failed Tory economic model, and point to what he believes is clear and mounting evidence, austerity and inequality are killing people. He also intends to lay bare what he feels is a large and growing inequality in people’s health based on background and income, saying: “If we are serious about improving the nation’s health, then we have to improve people’s pay and living conditions, slash poverty and reduce inequality.
“If we are serious about fulfilling Nye Bevan’s dream of building a society that looks after everybody then we need to transform our economy so that it doesn’t just work in the interests of a few.”
On austerity, inequality and life expectancy, he is expected to say:
“For years people were living longer and life expectancy was increasing. That has now ground to a halt and in some parts of the country life expectancy is falling. This is unprecedented.
“Men in the most deprived parts of England today will have nearly 20 fewer years of their lives in good health. And this isn’t about rich London and the South East versus the rest of Britain. There is massive inequality in even the wealthiest parts of our country. Take Kensington and Chelsea, the site of the Grenfell Tower tragedy a year ago, there, life expectancy is 14 years lower for the poorest residents.
“People living in the most deprived areas are five times more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease and 70 per cent more lung and cervical cancers are diagnosed in those same areas. It’s a long accepted truth that prevention is better than cure. The NHS treats illness but the growing inequalities in our society cause so much of it.
“We need to be as dedicated to the prevention of ill-health as we are dedicated and compassionate to the treatment of ill-health. So I make this pledge today, on the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the NHS, Labour will take action across government and the public services to halt the fall in life expectancy and narrow the shocking inequality gap in health across the board.
“Labour will declare war on health inequality, both within communities and across our regions and nations. As a country, we cannot tolerate a situation where one citizen or one community is denied the chance of life and health of another. That can and must change.”
We understand Mr Corbyn will pledge
- To fully declare war on health inequality
- That a Labour government will reverse the decline in the share of national income – or GDP – going into the NHS after falling under eight years of Conservative government.
- Launch a national mission to confront the causes of ill health and deprivation.
- Take ‘action across government’, to halt the fall in life expectancy and narrow the shocking inequality gap in health.
- Under Labour, the share of national income going into the NHS will rise.
He’s also expected to add: “We cannot tolerate a situation where one citizen or one community is denied the chance of life and health of another. That can and must change.
“That is essential if we are going to meet the health needs of our people, from cancer care to heart disease.”