Andy Burnham led a rally of Labour activists and supporters in Grimsby yesterday calling on people in North East Lincolnshire to vote Labour on Thursday.
The shadow health secretary was joined by Chris Shaw, the council leader, who has adopted Labour's 5-point pledge on the NHS, promising:
- Protecting an NHS that is free for all, resisting the encroachment of charges and unwarranted restrictions based on lifestyle choices.
- Preventing a postcode lottery. Patients in some areas are already being denied routine treatments, such as for varicose veins, that are available on the NHS elsewhere.
- Maintaining Labour’s waiting standards for cancer care, operations and in A&E. Since the election there’s been a 25% rise in people who waited longer than 18 weeks for operations.
- Promoting collaboration over competition, preventing the market from destabilising valued NHS services. Labour will call for a “one NHS” approach in every community.
- Putting patients before profits. There are already signs that financial incentives may mean NHS patients get sub-optimal care. Labour will always be vigilant in protecting patient choice and preventing profiteering.
Mr Burnham also praised North East Lincs Council's Labour pledge to scrap toll charges on the Humber Bridge for cancer patients having to travel to the north bank for treatment, saying:
"This is exactly the sort of reason people should vote Labour - here is a policy which will help the most vulnerable. The cost of living with cancer is huge, so things like this will be a big help.
"Here in North East Lincolnshire and across the country, people are telling me they're angry with the government's NHS reorganisation. David Cameron's taking the N out of National Health Service - we're going to end up with a free market system resulting in a healthcare postcode lottery where some treatments will be free in some place but not in others.
"A vote for Labour on Thursday is a vote for our NHS."