THERE is no question that the state of the NHS is one of the main issues that concerns my constituents with many of them worried about the future of our general hospital and GP provision in the town.

Make no mistake about it, I'm totally committed to our hospital and all health access in Hartlepool and will fight tooth and nail for all of those services.

But the task of any MP fighting to save health services is incredibly hard in the face of a Tory government who seem hell bent on destroying the NHS and demoralising those who work in it.

Forget any point scoring or political ideology. All the evidence is there that doctors and especially nurses working in the NHS are being attacked from all angles. Only this week the bursaries for nurses was brought to an end and for the past seven years austerity has meant nurses have had derisory pay awards that have left them much worse off in real terms.

But the most worrying statistics have just been issued by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. For the first time in history more nurses and midwives are leaving the profession than joining. Between 2016 and 2017, 20 per cent more nurses and midwives left the service than joined it. There are now 40,000 unfilled nursing posts and the bursary cuts will only make this situation worse.

THERE is no question that the state of the NHS is one of the main issues that concerns my constituents with many of them worried about the future of our general hospital and GP provision in the town.

Make no mistake about it, I'm totally committed to our hospital and all health access in Hartlepool and will fight tooth and nail for all of those services.

But the task of any MP fighting to save health services is incredibly hard in the face of a Tory government who seem hell bent on destroying the NHS and demoralising those who work in it.

Forget any point scoring or political ideology. All the evidence is there that doctors and especially nurses working in the NHS are being attacked from all angles. Only this week the bursaries for nurses was brought to an end and for the past seven years austerity has meant nurses have had derisory pay awards that have left them much worse off in real terms.

But the most worrying statistics have just been issued by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. For the first time in history more nurses and midwives are leaving the profession than joining. Between 2016 and 2017, 20 per cent more nurses and midwives left the service than joined it. There are now 40,000 unfilled nursing posts and the bursary cuts will only make this situation worse.

The hardships facing nurses are obvious for all to see, but I saw it personally last week when a young nurse came to my surgery desperate as she's struggling to make ends meet and continue with her training.

The situation is beyond a crisis and the Tories are doing nothing to address it. In fact  they are making a dire situation even worse.

So, yes, I'll fight with all I have for our NHS,  but I'll be laying the blame for its current state firmly at the door of the party who have been in power for more than seven years.

ONE  person who'd be right behind our nurses would be lifelong Labour stalwart Betty Brotherston whose funeral I went to this week.

Betty passed away at the ripe old age of 96 having been a mayoress, magistrate and tireless campaigner for Hartlepool. She'll be a sad loss to her family, friends, the party and the people of Hartlepool

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