I was honoured that Tottenham CLP’s General Committee members elected me to be their delegate at the annual Labour Party Conference in Brighton between 24 and 27 September 2017. It was my first Conference and I had the most remarkable few days of listening to and participating in various speeches, debates and discussions. I felt privileged to be a part of a vibrant and energetic grassroots movement and as Jeremy said, “We are on the verge of power”.
During the Conference, there were opportunities for delegates to go up on stage and speak on various topics such as housing, the NHS, state of the economy and education. You had to put your hand up in the air or waive like mad for the Conference chair to notice you and call you to the stage. I had stood on my chair spinning my red jumper like a ceiling fan, but failed to get noticed by the Conference chair.
However, below is the speech I would have given on the welfare of doctors in the NHS.
Sisters and Brothers, I am Khaled Moyeed, a CLP delegate from Tottennham.
I am going to talk about the severe stress that is placed on NHS doctors because of the serious underfunding and under-resourcing of the NHS.
The closure of hospitals and A&E departments means that patients go to nearby hospitals where doctors are having to work even longer hours to cope with the increased demand.
This is a topic that is very close to my heart because my wife is a junior doctor. She works as a Senior House Officer in a London hospital. Week in week out, I see that the stress and fatigue from overworking is having a serious impact on her physical and mental wellbeing.
There are days when she is on-call and have to do 14-15 hours shifts without any breaks for eating and drinking. And she has to wake up the next day and do it all over again.
I see the exhaustion, burnout and health problems she suffers as a result of her work as a doctor.
Brothers and sisters, I am not here to speak to you about the problems that my wife has at work. I am speaking up on behalf of the families of thousands of hardworking doctors up and down the country who are having similar levels of stress.
A recent survey of junior doctors by the Royal College of Anaesthetists found that 64% of junior doctors said that their job affected their physical health and 61% their mental health.
Many doctors are leaving the profession and moving abroad to work in places like Australia and the Middle East.
This is an utter disgrace. We are the fifth richest country in the world and we do not even fund our NHS adequately so that our doctors can be looked after properly.
Conference, it will not be the Tories who will fund the NHS and defend our doctors. We saw the first ever strike by junior doctors in the history of the NHS under the Tories. And I am proud of comrades in our movement who supported the junior doctors’ strike.
Brother and sisters, we know that the Tories want to systematically dismantle the NHS through austerity and deep cuts.
And we have heard from speaker after speaker in this conference that austerity is a con. It is a lie. It is an ideological dogma to create a smaller state.
They tell us that there is no money and yet they can find a £1billion top bung the DUP and save Theresa May’s job.
Conference, if there is money to save one person’s job, there is money to properly look after thousands and thousands of doctors who are the backbone of our NHS.
Brothers and sisters, do you think there was money after the second world war when our country’s infrastructure was totally destroyed? But a Labour government in 1945 had the courage and the vision to set up the NHS. It is our movement’s biggest achievement. And it is up to us to defend our NHS and fight for our doctors.