New Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused the sitting Government of ‘vandalising’ the NHS in his widely anticipated first speech to the Labour Party Conference.
Mr Corbyn said that the NHS is being ’threatened by the idea that profit comes first, not the needs and interests of our people’.
He said this would be ‘the difference between us and the Tories’ and made a commitment that Labour will ’always put people’s interests before profit’.
But his key message was for people not to ‘take what you’re given’ from the current Government, including Prime Minister David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne’s NHS funding policies.
He said: ’That has always been our Labour Party’s message. You don’t have to take what you’re given… But they’re at it again, the people who want you to take what you’re given, this Tory Government.
‘They want us to believe there is no alternative to cutting jobs. Slashing public services, vandalising the NHS, cutting junior doctors’ pay [and] reducing care for the elderly… They want the people of Britain to accept all of these things…
’Well, they’re not having it. Our Labour Party says no. The British people never have to take what they are given. And certainly not when it comes from Cameron and Osborne.’
Mr Corbyn also used his speech to say that he was ’going to challenge the Tories to make parity of esteem for mental health a reality not a slogan’, via his appointment of Luciana Berger as the first shadow minister for mental health.
Mr Cameron has pointed the finger at GPs over lack of mental health provision but two-thirds of GPs say long referral waiting times are the biggest barrier to treatment for mental illness.