At Prime Minister’s Questions today Ed Miliband raised the serious issue of the English NHS and its increasingly precarious position after four years of this Conservative Government. Asked five questions about the English NHS, you failed to answer.
You were asked the following questions:
- Why 16 leading health organisations representing doctors, nurses and patients are warning that health and social care services in England are “at breaking point”. You had no answer to their warnings about what's happening to the NHS on your watch.
- You were asked to confirm that in England we have the highest waiting lists for six years, the highest number of people waiting more than four hours in A&E for 10 years, the cancer treatment target missed for the first time ever and millions of people can’t get to see their GP. You had nothing to say on these facts which concern people across England.
- You were asked about your top-down reorganisation of the NHS, which has wasted £3 billion. You didn't say whether you agree with a Cabinet colleague that it was a huge mistake.
- You were asked about the warnings of the Conservative chair of the Health Select Committee about your funding plans and charging in the NHS. You had no answer to her views.
- You were asked to support the NHS by funding one-week cancer testing with a levy on the tobacco companies and you wouldn't explain why you refuse to do so.
The country and the NHS deserve better. Rather than indulging in smears and diversionary tactics you would be better advised to spend your time addressing the fact that the NHS is at breaking point under your Government.
As you yourself said in the aftermath of the Scottish referendum, “the millions of voices of England must also be heard.” If these words are to mean anything at all then you must immediately address the issues you were asked about today.
Until you focus on saving rather than smearing the NHS, the public will be understandably confronted with the sad truth that all this Government offers is five more years of crisis in the health service.
Andy Burnham MP
Shadow Health Secretary