Harlow Labour’s Laura McAlpine slams Tories over 50,000 more nurses pledge

General Election 2019 / Mon 25th Nov 2019 pm30 06:13pm

HARLOW Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate, Laura McAlpine has echoed criticism of Boris Johnson’s pledge of 50,000 nurses which has been labelled “deceitful” by the Royal College of Nursing.

The prime minister made the announcement as he unveiled the Conservative election manifesto on Sunday.

The party said 18,500 of the 50,000 would come by encouraging existing nurses to stay in the profession and others to return; 12,500 would also be recruited from abroad.

Ms McAlpine said: “Well 20,000 of those “new” nurses are already working for the NHS. You can’t trust the Conservatives with our NHS.

“The Royal College of Nursing and the British Medical Association have both publicly criticised Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock’s plans for our NHS. There are 100,000 staff vacancies in NHS England, including a shortage of 43,000 nurses. There are 15,000 fewer hospital beds. Every winter, bed occupancy rates exceed dangerous levels. Patients now wait far too long to see their GP – When I speak to residents on the doorstep, one of the biggest concerns is the difficulty in getting an appointment. People can wait weeks to see a GP. It simply isn’t good enough. The Conservatives obsession with privatisation has decimated our NHS.

Only the Labour Party manifesto contains a proper plan to bring our NHS back from the brink, including the reinstatement of nursing bursaries, free prescriptions (like Scotland,Wales and Northern Ireland), 27 million more GP appointments and the commitment to reverse privatisation within the NHS. Patients before profit has to be the priority.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said an increase in numbers would be welcome, but pointed out that there is already a shortfall of 43,000 nurses in England alone.

“Actually, what they need to do is recruit more in order to replace those who are already missing,” said Patricia Marquis, the RCN’s interim director for England.

She said the wording of the Tory pledge was also a “bit of a mixed message – with some about nurses or nursing staff – and it is a very different thing”.

Registered nurses have a degree, but the RCN says there are many other nursing staff who help them deliver care.

However, Ms Marquis said it only replaces “half of what they took away” because “they’re planning to replace the maintenance grant but not pay for nursing students fees that was in place before”.

Challenged about the nurses pledge, Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan told Sky News: “What we say is 50,000 more nurses, that means if you look in 10 years’ time, we will have 50,000 more nurses in our NHS.

“That means for people going to access NHS services and for patients and their families, they know they’re going to have the nursing staff that they need for their loved one to get the care.”

She added: “The workforce the size of the NHS is…one of the ways in which you make sure that you have more nurses in the system is to make sure that you’re retaining the skilled workforce that you’ve got.”

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12 Comments for Harlow Labour’s Laura McAlpine slams Tories over 50,000 more nurses pledge:

2019-11-25 19:52:28

I agree these numbers are highly questionable, and dressing up 50,000 as new, when in fact they are not should be removed and apologised for. However, in addition, I think Labour need some help with their approach to the NHS as there's a massive flaw in the plan. So I can't buy the argument that Labour are better for patient care and "patients before profit" until the policy is removed. Let me explain... Saying that £500m a week will go to US pharma companies if the conservatives get elected is plain wrong, look on full Fact for their take on it too. Problem is, if all drug prices were raised (which they can't be to those levels because of NICE and VPAS which says if the NHS pays over a certain amount it's rebated by the companies anyway and that's locked in for a few years too), not all of the raises would go to American companies anyway. GSK and AZ are British, Roche and Novartis Swiss. If you then take away the patents of all these companies treatments in the UK and go fully generic then you smash up the 3rd biggest R&D sector in the UK losing tens of thousands of jobs and academia cannot pay for that investment in large clinical trials needed to get drugs approved so they won't fill the void. What's worse is that no new treatments would be given here in the UK, so all those life extending cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular, asthma etc drugs, well, no more access to them because a Labour government would have forced it all out. Our health outcomes would drop to the levels experienced in 2nd and 3rd world countries. The only countries that run this system are Venezuela and India...patient outcomes in both are poor and corruption is rife in one. This policy does not lead to investment in Science, investment in clinical trials in the UK, revenue from exports or worse any benefit to anybody who will need treatments in the future. A government/public lead body will not have the funds to trial all the potential treatments and the failed studies that come along with that which costs billions. That's why those treatments that do make it, need to make money to fund the next treatments to help people. So while it sounds good to drive out private investment from the NHS, the consequences of doing so to the scale that a Labour government would like to do is not only damaging to the economy but also damaging to lives that will be lost because of this focus on one thing and not the many outcomes. We do some wonderful science here in the UK and some of the best and most revolutionary treatments in the world were discovered right here, please don't scrap all of that for some popularist socialist agenda and please see the bigger picture...otherwise the NHS will be so hamstrung trying to treat everybody with nothing, your policy will have had the opposite effect and put extreme pressure on a healthcare system, damaging it and the country beyond repair.

2019-11-25 21:54:10

This is a long ramble made up of many vague, unrelated and unsupported assertions. You mention GSK and AZ but ignore Merck and Johnson and Johnson. The medical R & D sector is driven by public funding and charities, and government funding is more consistent and reliable, as you'd expect. It's not solely the private sector which drives medical advances as you claim here. So it wouldn't be 'smashed up', it would potentially be more stable. Good review paper by Sussex et al 2016 on this if you're so inclined. You claim that thousands of jobs would be lost, treatments would not be available, health outcomes outcomes would drop - all pure supposition. In fact little more than scaremongering of the kind that right indulged in in the US to try and resist Obamacare. What is so tragic is that we have benefitted so much - collectively and individually - from public services and public funding for health - what you dismiss as some kind of extreme socialist agenda - over the years. And now the profiteers who have done very will out of what's actually a mixed economy in medical research and healthcare seem to think that all that's needed is to invoke a 'Red Scare' and they can asset-strip it too. Vote Labour to protect what we have built up over the years and is now at great risk.

2019-11-26 05:58:20

As usual the Labour statement issued by L M or Mrs A...... is full of the same old nonsense about "we can do better " ? When she's reading from a script, previously prepared it still doesn't make sense, promises promises and more promises. Never has an opinion of her own. Remember the tantrum during the public meeting last week ? Vote Labour at your Peril, they'll bankrupt the country, again.

2019-11-26 10:02:13

Towpath_Rat, while i agree that the NHS should remain publicly funded, there is no dispute on that, however, your lack of knowledge in this area is astounding to claim that this is scaremongering. Let me raise a few points here with facts... Yes there are American companies, but the £500m figure Labour used was calculated if ALL drug prices were put up. That means not just American company drug figures were used, so of that £500m some/most would go to say British and Swiss companies. In addition too that, countries that have recently done trade deals have not seen these prices rise. Look on FullFact for confirmation of that. Then add on top what NICE do and assess the value of the pricing and NHSE commissioning that assess affordability. Price rises would fall fail these tests. Then look up VPAS which commits companies to pay back any money on branded medicines if the medicines budget rises than by more than 2% each year. So based on this factual information who is scaremongering? Me or the party that made this repeated claim of £500m leaving the NHS to abroad? Next, R&D. It is not solely driven by academia. Yes academia do basic science and biological interactions. However, drug interactions are more often than not funded jointly by industry. You can look at many of the main research charities breakdown of research funding or most clinical papers to see that industry funding is there. This also has to be disclosed by both parties for transparency. Equally, there is no way academia can fund large phase I and II trials, because of the number of patients and money needed. They have to either work with industry or sell their candidate in a joint deal as there is absolutely no chance that they have pockets deep enough to pay say £800m if that candidate fails in Phase III. That's just one candidate failure, there are hundreds at each stage of development. It's an unsustainable model on a local setting, it has to be global to fund all of this. No charity or research organisation has brought out one single new medicine to be used widely in the last 10 years to emphasis that point. But look, i know the policy is very well intentioned, i'm not denying that. The problem is it is also very naive and doesn't think about what the implications of implementing such a policy would do. I like you would love to see a well funded NHS that gives everybody the best treatment possible and remains mostly in the hands of public sector. But when the policy stars cutting into major R&D investors, says they are not welcome, takes all of the intellectual property off them for nothing which they have invested millions in, puts of investment in UK clinical trials and got the basic sums very wrong at the start, i can only see that as a bad thing that really needs to be thought through properly. What's worse is that it is being repeated again and again and potentially influencing people's views who don't know about all this...which is completely irresponsible. I'm not claiming that not all parties are doing this, they are. But on this particular policy, Labour need to be very very careful about what implementing it will mean...

2019-11-26 11:27:38

Seems we have an expert here in jhumphreys84, who can challenge the assertions of Labour's policy, much like others who can challenge the rhetoric of all the main political parties. No wonder so many people these days do not trust politicians and no longer bother to vote.

2019-11-26 18:23:53

As we do not know what the content of the discussions between the government and their US contacts on what future trade deals might involve - that heavily redacted document! - we don't know whether schemes like VPAS (which for those who don't know is the 'Voluntary Scheme for Branded Medicines Pricing') will even survive. Beyond that, the near-obsession of the extreme right with marketisation of the NHS - read some of the the pieces on the future of the NHS that leading have written about the desirability of marketising it and opening it up to the private sector - means that opening it up to the US is only part of a wider strategy. I actually think that reducing this all to being about Trump is misleading - Labour'sm policy will need to address the role of multi-nationals, be they US, UK, Swiss or based out of some Island tax haven. And maybe rather than trotting out the big pharma industry's claims about their intellectual property, it's important to understand and recognise the role of UKRI, the Medical Charities (AMRC members fund a third of all medical research in the UK!) and the various European Research Agencies.

2019-11-26 20:26:28

"However, drug interactions are more often than not funded jointly by industry." I was curious if that statement was true or not. Short answer is yes in the US, 60% is industry, 30% government, the rest charity etc. I couldn't find a similar breakdown for the UK, but I found this article interesting https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/health/2019/10/why-would-government-make-its-own-drugs Not sure what side of the argument it supports, if any.

2019-11-27 09:35:33

Just reread jhumphreys cut-and-paste collection of big pharma industry press releases (sorry, i meant their expert contribution) again. In amongst all the other half-truths is "say, £800m" for the cost of a Stage 3 Clinical Trial. Made up figure. Nothing in the medical economic literature comes close to this. So - *scaremongering* or just outright lies.

2019-11-27 09:58:17

Towpath_Rat, not sure how many more facts you needs but ok here we go. The £800m was an estimation yes, because to go fully approved medicine costs around £1.2b. So as an estimation of the stage before i calculated at about £800m, but actually that's probably an underestimation based on a figure of a couple of years ago. So thank you for pointing out my underestimation. Also you blamed me earlier for "many vague, unrelated and unsupported assertions". I have now given evidence for my claims and you come back with "we don't know if schemes will survive". Where is your evidence for that please? Given it's been in place for many years previously as the PPRS. NHS leaders opinion pieces, ok, so where's the hard evidence for that too? And the UKRI which openly states it works with industry too. So i'm not sure why you're glossing over my facts and then looking for other things. I've provided you with evidence now but it doesn't make a difference so believe what you want, i'd just prefer that things which are factually wrong like the £500m figure that keeps getting said is stopped as it's misleading.

2019-11-27 10:05:22

No you haven't given evidence, you've admitted these are estimations and you seem to be basing these on figures *you* are picking out of the air. We don't know that the price controls will survive because the Tories are having talks about the future of the NHS behind a veil of secrecy. They need to release the NHS documents just as they should release the Russia report. They have form on secrecy and lies. Conversation Closed.

2019-11-27 16:42:51

I’m sorry, I’m not sure what gives you the right or the authority to declare a conversation closed. Especially as I paid you the curtsey of providing evidence to your questions and accusations towards my lints. As per my questions above you’ve provided nothing but opinion and conspiracy theories and changed the subject where possible. There is no need to be so rude, especially when I’m not even defending the Tories here...

2019-11-27 17:04:30

Oh and one more thing, on this - “ Beyond that, the near-obsession of the extreme right with marketisation of the NHS” I think you’ll find Any Qualified Provider, or Any Willing Provider as it was known back then, which lets the NHS contract with private firms if it so wishes, was introduced in 2009. Under a labour government. So it’s not just the right after all

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