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Burnham For Mayor

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Labour calls on Cameron to open up Downing Street NHS talks

Andy Burnham MP, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, speaking ahead of tomorrow's meeting between the Prime Minister and senior health professionals on the Health and Social Care Bill, said:

"The NHS means too much to too many people for the Government to play this dangerous game of divide and rule.

"People have strong and sincerely-held views about the risks to the NHS from the Government's re-organisation. They deserve a hearing not to have the door of Downing Street shut in their faces.

"It is never a good idea for any Prime Minister to surround himself with people who he thinks will tell him what he wants to hear. It leads to the Government giving a false impression, when the reality is that hospitals are under intense pressure as last week's A&E figures continue to show.

"The truth is that the Government has backed itself into a corner on the NHS. The best way out of it is not to lash out  but to listen and talk. That is the leadership the NHS needs, not petty gestures like this.

"David Cameron has got this one wrong and I urge him to rethink his plans for tomorrow's meeting. Even at this late notice, he should extend an invitation to the BMA, RCN, RCM and RCGP to attend the talks.

"This whole episode is another sure sign that David Cameron is putting his political pride before the best interests of the NHS."