JULIE ELLIOTT: The NHS needs proper funding to deliver services

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During the past week, we have seen photos of toddlers lying on chairs due to a lack of hospital beds, and heard stories of cancer patients having operations cancelled for the same reason.

At least two patients have died so far this year after waiting on trolleys in corridors for more than 24 hours and, on more than 100 occasions, hospitals have run out of beds completely.

Indeed, in the first week of January there were 39 incidents where A&E departments in England had to close their doors to ambulances – as they could not guarantee level of care.

Our NHS staff are brilliant, both dedicated and hard-working, but they are hamstrung by the continued lack of proper support from central government.

Theresa May’s response to these issues has been one of incompetence. She has tried to dismiss what is happening as just a “small number of incidents”.

Let us be clear, this is not the case, the NHS is in crisis.

The facts speak for themselves.

Official figures reveal that the Government has not met the four-hour waiting time target for A&E since July 2015, and thousands of patients are now having to wait on trolleys for hours.

However, instead of tackling the crisis with proper support for the NHS and social care, the Government is simply moving the goal posts by suggesting they may downgrade the target.

And it is not just hospital care. Here in Sunderland the number of full-time GPs has fallen by 25% over the past two years, and continues to fall. The crisis in the NHS is hitting us all.

The NHS needs proper funding so that it can deliver the vital services we all depend upon.

Please rest assured that I will continue to fight for the future of our NHS at every opportunity, both in Sunderland and in Westminster.