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NHS – #GE2024

The General Election 2024 is upon us. Once again, candidates will be vying for our votes. Debates, manifestos and promises. Here at downhamweb, we are helping you find out what the candidates think on issues that are important to you. The rest is up to you!

We’ve written to candidates standing for election in South West Norfolk to ask them four key questions. See our series of #GE2024 articles for their responses to these four topics.

The first of our four questions: The roof of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is still held up with thousands of props, and promises of cash for a rebuild haven’t materialised. People feel this is a local symptom of the ongoing treatment of the NHS overall. How will you ensure the long term health of our National Health Service?

Terry Jermy – Labour Party

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital has long been failed by this Conservative government and I applaud the work of hospital staff, unions and the wider local community for their tireless lobbying. If elected I will make sure that the QEH is high on the agenda for any Labour government and ensure West Norfolk gets the hospital it deserves with a rebuild as quickly as possible. My number 1 campaign priority is the NHS, whether it be dentistry, GP services or mental health – we’ve all seen the decline of the most basic services. I support Labour’s pledge to cut NHS waiting times by cracking down on tax avoidance and non-dom loopholes and want to see increased funding for Councils with responsibility for social care. Read more here.

Lorraine Douglas – Communist Party of Britain

We want a reversal of the creeping privatisation and fragmentation of the NHS following the 2012 Lansley reforms which has resulted in nearly £12billion a year being spent on private sector treatment for NHS patients. We need a massive building programme to replace our crumbling hospitals and an end to the eye-wateringly expensive PFI schemes that have been fleecing the taxpayer for 20 years. We have seen the complete collapse of NHS dental services in Norfolk. We want to see the demands of the Toothless in Norfolk campaign implemented, resulting in the guarantee of an NHS dentist for everyone, and an end to DIY dentistry in 21st century Britain. We want big pharma brought under public control and ownership – and an end to rip-off prices for medicines. We need a proper workforce plan, starting with reinstatement of the nursing bursary, an abolition of tuition fees and write-off of student debt; an increase in nursing and medical training places and incentives to recruit and retain NHS staff. We also need to bring social care back into public ownership and control, proper pay, conditions and training for care staff to tackle the chronic shortages in the workforce and provide genuine career opportunities for young people in this critical sector. Read more here.

Toby McKenzie – Reform UK

Having worked as a nursing assistant for the NHS I’ve seen the struggles with resources/staff. The hospital I work at in Portsmouth closed, where did all those psychiatric patients go to? We have to stop training caps for nurses for example. End the obsession with middle management and focus on frontline staff in hospitals. Read more here.

Elizabeth Truss – Conservative Party

I campaigned for a new Queen Elizabeth Hospital at King’s Lynn and following representations to the Chancellor, funding for it was secured in 2023. This redevelopment of the QEH, part of the Government’s New Hospital Programme, will cut waiting lists and offer a higher quality of care for us in South West Norfolk. Work is underway on this vital project at the QEH’s current site and I have gained assurances from the Health Minister that it is on schedule for completion by 2030. This investment in local healthcare is welcome, and in the long term the NHS must be reformed. More freedom and decision-making on the front line will be important in building a sustainable NHS for the future. Read more here.

Josie Ratcliffe – Liberal Democrats

Firstly, Liberal Democrats believe that universal high-quality healthcare, free at the point of use and accessible wherever and whenever it’s needed, is essential for both individual freedom and national prosperity. And we are clear that we need to fix the crisis in social care to stop so many people being stuck in hospital beds. We have specifically committed to a ten-year plan to invest in hospitals and the primary care estate to end the scandal of crumbling roofs, dangerous concrete and life-expired buildings.

Pallavi Devulapalli – Green Party

We will ensure that it is properly funded; our costed Manifesto will lay out the investment we think is needed in the NHS. We want to bring down hospital waiting times and stop getting to see your GP or a dentist feel like such an uphill struggle. We have been listening to GPs and other medical professionals about how we protect and restore the NHS. We will ensure NHS staff are paid properly – this will improve morale, retention and staffing levels. Vacancies are high across all sectors of healthcare work. Factoring in inflation, the BMA says junior doctors had a 26% pay cut between 2008/09 and 2021/22. No wonder they are striking. We wouldn’t want to preempt pay negotiations, but the money should be available to pay people properly. If you take out the tax and national insurance, restoring junior doctors pay would cost the Treasury £1 bn. Money worth spending to have a sustainable workforce. I would support long-term workforce plans and commitments to train lots more doctors and nurses, but in the interim, we will still need doctors and nurses from abroad for some years to come. The Green Party is the only party that supports migrants and is committed to ending the hostile environment.


James Bagge (independent) was contacted but did not provide a response.

The other candidates in South West Norfolk are Earl Elvis of East Anglia for The Official Monster Raving Loony Party and Gary Conway for the Heritage Party.

Voting day is on 4th July and don’t forget to take a photo ID or ‘voter authority certificate‘ in order to vote.



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