LABOUR leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for the pressure to be eased on the Worcestershire Royal Hospital with a fully-functioning Accident and Emergency department returned to the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch as he pledged to sink £26billion into the NHS.
Speaking on a whistle-stop visit to Worcester on Monday (December 9), the Labour leader revealed his sadness at hearing the stories of a patient who died in an ambulance while waiting to be admitted and the Observer’s story last week from a former soldier who described conditions as ‘worse than those in Iraq and Afghanistan’ after his father spent more than seven hours in an ambulance at the Royal.
Mr Corbyn delivered a rallying call to more than 1,000 people who packed into Croft Road car park to listen despite the event starting more than an hour later than planned and in plunging temperatures as his battle bus fought through hold-ups on the M5.
After taking to the stage with the city’s Labour candidate Lynn Denham and Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaigners, Mr Corbyn pledged to provide a cash boost to the NHS should he win power on Friday (December 13).
“Immediately we would put money into the NHS for the staff shortages and bed shortages which exist all over the country. The stories you have shared with me are a terrible situation but sadly something which is not unusual all across the country, he said.
“We have 40,000 nurse vacancies nationwide, a shortage of doctors so this is the kind of problem you will get.
“Many have no alternative to go to the NHS and they rely on it, we have to make sure it’s there and fully funded and we will put £26billion to make sure it’s fully funded.
“Yes it will mean a rise in corporation tax to pay for it but I think it’s the right thing to do.
“We have looked at the long journeys which take place, I’ve met people in Redditch to talk about this, I want to see a fully functioning Accident and Emergency department within reach of everyone,” Mr Corbyn added.
He praised the fight of WASPI campaigners and told the crowds: “We have made a very clear commitment that we will right some, if not all of the wrongs of the past.
“One of them is the disgraceful way the Waspi women were treated by this government. We owe them a moral debt.”
Mr Corbyn has been criticised for refusing to campaign for either leave or remain in any future second referendum but the Labour leader said he would act as an ‘honest broker’ to deliver a vote on any deal to his party negotiated to leave the EU and the result of the vote.
Despite being behind in the opinion polls, Mr Corbyn was bullish about his party’s chance in tomorrow’s poll.
“We’ve put forward a comprehensive manifesto about ending injustice and inequality in Britain and a fully costed programme to bring that about. I think we have all the ideas and information there to form a Government,” he said.
MORE INVESTMENT for the Worcestershire Royal has been one of Conservative candidate Robin Walker’s five key pledges during the General Election campaign.
As well as calling for a new medical school to train nurses and doctors in the city, Mr Walker has also pledged to press for more investment for the Royal with health ministers.
“The expansion of the Worcestershire Royal’s Accident and Emergency department is my top priority and I continue to be persistent in pushing for more investment, so my constituents can access timely, first-class care unhindered by long waiting times and financial pressures with new facilities and more funding for full time staff.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock paid a flying visit to the Royal earlier in the campaign and met with Mr Walker, Rachel Maclean and Mark Garnier, candidates for the Conservatives in Redditch and Wyre Forest respectively.
“We have been able to make the case for more investment in local services. Millions have been secured for the Royal in the last few years and I believe we can deliver more.” Mr Walker said.