THE Independent general election candidate for Batley & Spen has launched a blistering attack on the two main political parties over the NHS.
Paul Halloran said residents expected to be able to access a full range of health, social care and mental health services locally.
He said: “Let’s be honest, the Labour Party and the Conservative Party have both got away with treating our NHS like a political football for years. They both argue over privatisation and selling off our NHS – they’re as bad as each other.
“Both parties have introduced charges to see the dentist, the optician, for prescriptions and for car parking at local hospitals over the years.
“Both parties have introduced and expanded the Private Finance Initiative that has led to massive debts within the NHS and for local hospital trusts to be effectively bankrupt.
“This, in turn, has seen health services locally, for people in Batley and Spen, reduced or removed altogether from local health care provision.”
Mr Halloran’s wife Debbie has been a nurse with the NHS for 35 years.
He said: “I’m very proud of my wife and of the absolute care and compassion that she and her colleagues in the NHS give to their patients.
“As Debbie’s husband, I’ve had a front row seat in how our NHS has changed beyond recognition over the past years.
“The UK has one of the largest economies in the world, so it is unacceptable that people often have to travel to hospitals outside the constituency, such as Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, for many of the most common medical needs.
“This puts strain not only on the patient but on their families too, for example in travel time and travel costs.
“I am campaigning for a full range of health, mental health and social care provisions being available locally with a full A&E department incl-uding intensive and high-dependency care and consultant-led maternity services at Dewsbury and Dist-rict Hospital.”
He said both parties had presided over under-investment of social and mental health care.
He added: “Yet another scandal is that we currently have a situation where people have worked hard all their lives, scrimped and saved to buy their own home, only then to fall ill with dementia and have to sell their homes to pay for their care. This is plain wrong.
“They’ve already paid for their care through their National Insurance and tax contributions all their working lives. If elected, I will also fight and vehemently campaign against this ridiculous and unfair policy.”
On the subject of “selling off” the NHS he went on: “Again, we have the rank hypocrisy of both main parties.
“Labour accuses the Conservatives of selling off the NHS, yet they support TTIP, the Transatlantic and Investment Partner-ship.
“This is the EU/US Trade deal being negotiated. Although TTIP is currently suspended pending a review by President Trump, it would permit the USA providers to have access to all health services in EU member states, including the UK.
“Moreover, neither Labour nor the Conservatives have ruled out selling off our NHS in any future trade deal with the EU when we finally leave.
“No political party will get my vote to sell off our NHS.
“It’s as simple as that.”