In her latest column, Judith writes about the impact of the cost of living and lack of access to NHS Services. Originally printed in the Telegraph and Argus, Weds 31 August 2022:
When I speak to residents across Bradford South, it is clear that the cost-of-living crisis is a huge concern for households. The surging cost of energy, and the knock-on effects this has on the price of everyday goods, is only set to hit families and businesses harder as we face autumn and winter.
The government has lost control of the economy and it is people, businesses and jobs here that are paying the price. After over a decade in power, the government has failed to secure our energy supplies leaving us vulnerable to price spikes, resulting in higher bills and leaving us less secure as a country.
Labour has put forward a fully costed plan to put a stop to rising energy bills and to save households £1000 on their bills. As gas and oil producers make record profits Labour’s plan would be paid for by taxing these producers. It’s time for the Tory government to get its act together and help households through this crisis.
Residents are still struggling to get a face-to-face appointment with a doctor. People are still unable to see their GP in person at anywhere close to pre-pandemic levels.
In West Yorkshire, over a quarter of appointments this May were conducted over the phone rather than face-to-face, compared to just one in ten before the pandemic - that’s two and a half times fewer people seeing their doctor in person. Our NHS suffers from a chronic lack of investment and underfunding.
While phone appointments have their place, as I raised with the Secretary of State, over-reliance on these and a reluctance to move back to in-person appointments because of cost pressures means patients are at risk of a misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis.
And it is not just doctors, waiting lists at hospitals are up and NHS dentistry is in dire straits too.
Access to NHS dental care is now so limited in many areas that people are unable to find an NHS dentist that will take them on as a new patient. New figures show that only 2% of all dental practices in the Yorkshire and Humber are accepting new NHS patients.
This means that access to essential health care is quickly becoming a two-tier system benefitting those who can afford it, while everyone else is left to rot.
When Parliament returns, I am leading a debate pushing for urgent reform to NHS dentistry funding.
The NHS cannot continue to lose dentists to private practices. The Government must ensure that dentistry is properly funded and supported.
It is fundamental that people must have access to NHS services when they need them."