Ed Miliband says NHS to be 'defining issue' at next election
Published: 17th Feb 2012 16:24:45
Labour are pledging to make the NHS the "defining issue" at the next election if the government does not drop its plans to overhaul the service.
David Cameron is insisting he will press ahead with reforms to the NHS in England, despite widespread criticism.
Under the proposals, family doctors will have more control over their budgets and there will be a greater role for the private sector.
Labour's Ed Miliband has accused the prime minister of "broken promises".
During a visit to the Royal Bolton Hospital, the Labour leader said Mr Cameron had made "solemn promises" at the last election: "No going back to waiting for hours on end in A&E. Three thousand more midwives. An end to hospital closures. And no more top-down reorganisations."
Mr Miliband accused Mr Cameron of breaking "all these promises and more... it is bad for our NHS and bad for politics".
He said: "Before he became prime minister, David Cameron concealed his plans for creeping privatisation of our National Health Service.
"So people didn't get a vote on these plans at the last election. But I give you my word that if he goes ahead, they will be a defining issue at the next."
The next general election is scheduled to be held in spring 2015.
The main unions and professional bodies representing doctors, nurses and health service staff are now opposed to the proposed changes.
Mr Miliband called at Prime Minister's Questions last week for the bill to be dropped, and is urging the Mr Cameron to "listen to doctors and nurses and the 140,000 who have signed the petition urging him to drop the Bill".
Earlier this week Downing Street insisted ministers were fully behind the reforms and rejected suggestions that Health Secretary Andrew Lansley should be sacked.
Mr Cameron said on Sunday he strongly supported the founding principles of the NHS, including "health care for all, free at the point of use, unrelated to the ability to pay".
But he added: "While the values are right, the system isn't. It needs to change - and that is why I am at one with Andrew Lansley, the reform programme and the legislation going through Parliament."
Following Mr Miliband's comments, health minister Simon Burns said: "Ed Miliband can talk the NHS down all he likes, but the truth is that services are getting better all the time - with shorter waits since the election, 820,000 more people able to access an NHS dentist, 15,000 fewer administrators, 4,000 more doctors and 600 more midwives.
"Our plans deliver control for patients, power for doctors and nurses, and less bureaucracy. Labour still have no plan to help our NHS meet the challenges of the future. Their approach is simply one of cynical opportunism."
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Ed Miliband says NHS to be 'defining issue' at next election. [Online] (Updated 17 Feb 2012)
Available at: http://www.manchesterwired.co.uk/news.php/226084-Ed-Miliband-says-NHS-to-be-defining-issue-at-next-election [Accessed 22nd May 2013]
At 06:34:58 in OtherThe funeral of a baby girl who was found dead on a country lane near Bolton is due to take place later....
At 06:24:55 in OtherThousands of Bradford City fans are to line the streets as the club celebrates promotion to League One with an open-top bus parade....
At 00:00:04 in BusinessIt was Neil Gershenfeld who introduced me to the potential of additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, getting on for 10 years ago...
At 20:20:48 in OtherA man suspected of carrying out a string of robberies since the end of April has been named by police....
At 18:28:56 in OtherPolice are investigating 54 alleged gangs in a crackdown on child grooming in England and Wales, peers have heard....
At 13:41:04 in OtherA man accused of murdering a pensioner admitted to a woman that he stabbed him, a court has been told....
At 11:21:18 in OtherAmateur footballers from Wigan who had games ruined by travelling Newcastle United supporters have played a game at St James' Park. ...
At 11:12:27 in OtherThe Communication Workers Union (CWU) has accused mobile phone firm O2 of betraying hundreds of call centre workers in Glasgow and elsewhere...
At 11:07:10 in OtherMore than half of the UK's foreign tourists in 2012 visited London, figures have shown....
At 06:24:07 in OtherTen people are being investigated over historical allegations of sexual abuse at a residential school, where it was claimed Sir Cyril Smith ...
News In Other Categories
Seven members of the Egyptian security forces abducted in the Sinai peninsula have been freed, officials say....
A building that has stood empty for almost five years after being bought as a new headquarters for Hampshire Constabulary is to be sold....
Complaints about abandoned horses and ponies quadrupled in some parts of Wales last year....
Trevor Bolder, the bassist in David Bowie's legendary 1970s backing band Spiders From Mars, has died from cancer at the age of 62....
More than 50 English beaches have met tough new EU standards to receive Blue Flag awards, recognising their high standards and water quality...
Indian fast bowler S Sreesanth, arrested last week over allegations of spot-fixing in the Indian Premier League, has insisted he is innocent...