Cas Middlemas, Bradford Socialist Party

Ambulance waiting times spiked to over 90 minutes in December. 18 minutes is the target.

17% of people in the UK are disabled. For them, these problems can be life threatening.

Many disabled people rely on the safety net of emergency care, as their health is more likely to deteriorate rapidly than non-disabled people. Disabled adults are three times more likely to have heart disease and strokes than non-disabled adults.

Lack of resources for disabled people also means they often depend on emergency services, instead of scheduled assistance. These factors make easily accessible emergency care essential for disabled people in their daily lives.

Last year, I waited 27 hours in an A&E corridor until I finally met with a nurse, and was soon sent home. The sad reality, she told me, was that there were no beds available for someone with my problems anywhere in England. How are healthcare workers supposed to do their jobs when the required resources simply don’t exist?

The healthcare budget has increased by an average of 1.5% in cash terms each year since 2010. But that’s less than half what is necessary to keep up with demand. Rising inflation and energy prices also affect the NHS budget.

The solution is simple – fully fund the NHS. Nurses cannot do their jobs if they’ve nowhere for their patients to stay.

They also can’t do their jobs if they’re being overworked and underpaid. The demands of striking healthcare workers must be met.

This problem is directly caused by austerity, and if we don’t solve it, the lives of disabled people, and all of us, are on the line.