The NHS is one of our country's most cherished institutions, and rightly so. It is one of the best health services in the world and we want to make sure it stays that way.
Private companies often put profit before people, whilst public health bodies have a track record of delivering very good services. It is a shame that we have seen increasing privatisation under both this government and the last one, which increased the amount of medical services bought in from outside the NHS from £1.1 billion in 1997/8 to a whopping 7.5 billion by 2009/10.
In Cambridge, we have pushed very hard for the older people's services contract to be awarded to the NHS, not outsourced, and were very pleased to see the contract, worth £800 million, awarded to existing public health bodies.
This is in stark contrast to the billion pound privatisation of Hinchingbrooke Hospital tendered by the last government which didn't even have an NHS bidder in the final five. Labour also saddled our country with a £60 billion bill from PFI contracts, which is still crippling our health economy here in Cambridgeshire.
We want to see a far greater emphasis on mental health care. When Labour established waiting targets in healthcare, they omitted mental health, with the result that performance deteriorated. I want to see parity of esteem between physical and mental health, and an end to long delays for treatment and support.