The National Health Service is something that makes every Labour Party member glow with pride and creating it is certainly Labour’s proudest achievement.
Considered controversial back in the 1940s, it has saved the lives of millions of patients, irrespective of their personal income or social class.
Labour will always, stand up for the NHS because it knows how important it is.
By contrast, the Tories fought tooth and nail against the creation of the NHS – voting against it 22 times in Parliament.
It is no surprise that under their stewardship the NHS is at crisis point, thanks to continual under-funding and cuts.
This winter was the epitome of Tory mismanagement, with the worst winter crisis ever.
According to Labour’s analysis, under the current rate of decline, by the end of this Parliament there will be 700,000 more people on waiting lists and more than a million more people waiting longer than four hours in A&E.
Across the NHS there are more than 100,000 staff vacancies.
And there is considerable concern and suspicion of more privatisation and cuts to local NHS services.
At the election, Labour promised an immediate boost for the NHS funded by increasing income tax for the highest five per cent of earners and by increasing tax on private medical insurance.
We also made additional pledges on workforce, social care and on NHS capital investment, delivering a total £45 billion commitment to health and social care.
By contrast, the Tories recent funding announcement has been criticised by NHS finance experts as not being enough, and they have not explained where the money will come from.
Putting politics aside for a moment, I want to take this historical occasion to say a big thank you to all NHS staff.
The wonderful doctors, nurses and health care assistants, the scientists, the receptionists and administrators, the porters and the cleaners, the maintenance workers and security – thank you.
Without you all, the NHS would be nothing.