Jon Ashworth demands ministers use £20bn-a-year NHS cash boost to improve patient safety

Posted On: 
24th September 2018

Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth has demanded that minsters use the £20bn-a-year NHS cash boost to better improve patient safety.

Mr Ashworth was speaking at the Health and Care forum at Labour's annual conference in Liverpool
Credit: 
Dods/Paul Heartfield

The Shadow Health Secretary lashed out at the government’s “stand still” funding settlement for the NHS, saying it was not enough to make up for “eight years of the tightest financial squeeze” in the history of the health service.

And he added that his party would step in to try and amend the upcoming Health Service Safety Investigations Bill if the Government fails to use the cash to prioritise patient safety.

He was speaking alongside Welsh Health Secretary Vaughan Gething at last night's Health and Care Forum reception at the Labour party conference in Liverpool, which ran with the support of The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and The Royal College of Emergency Medicine.

Mr Ashworth told a packed audience at the Dods fringe event: "The NHS Ten Year Plan must come with clear rules on safer NHS staffing; a beefed up role for medical examiners; and proper rules to keep patients safe from rogue apps and private tech developers.

"And I am announcing today that if the Government fail to deliver on these demands then Labour will amend the upcoming Health Service Safety Investigations Bill to force these changes through ourselves.

He added: "It’s time to put patient safety ahead of the bottom line – a Labour Government will put patient safety at the very heart of our plans for the NHS."

Meanwhile, Mr Gething argued it was critically important for ministers to ensure NHS spending decisions gave the public the best value for money.

“Health and social care will look differently in five years’ time. They’ll look differently because they should do, but our choice is do we allow change to happen by waiting for things to fall over or do we take ownership of what that change should look like and make choices even if they are difficult ones", he said.

“In health and social care that rule about: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, well that’s wrong. In health and social care if you wait until its broken then real and avoidable harm is caused.”

He continued: “The way we use money is really important, so it isn’t just about the amount of money, we have to be looking at how we deliver the best value possible for the public pound that we invest.

“So actually, efficiency really matters. That is not a way to cover up privatisation because we are not having a privatised system in Wales.”