England's White Dragon

England's White Dragon
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Thursday, 17 March 2011

Tories destroy the English NHS

David Cameron and Ed Miliband clash over NHS reforms

Ed Miliband accused David Cameron of "wrecking our
record on the NHS"

And Doctors 'want halt to NHS plans' and No 10 rules out NHS
plan U-turn

Ed Miliband has accused David Cameron of "threatening
the fabric" of the NHS as the two men clashed over the government's
proposed health reforms.

The Labour leader said the government was
"wrecking" Labour's legacy and urged changes to plans to give GPs control
over most NHS commissioning.

But Mr Cameron accused Labour of "setting its
face" against changes needed to boost patient care.

Labour were opposing extra money for the NHS, the prime
minister added.

The clash at Prime Minister's Questions came in the wake of
the Lib Dems - Mr Cameron's coalition partners - calling for changes to the
government's proposed re-organisation of the NHS at their Spring Conference and
members of the British Medical Association (BMA) rejecting the plan.

The Labour leader said the prime minister was unwilling to
listen to criticism of the proposals - which will also see the abolition of
Primary Care Trusts and Strategic Health Authorities - and was "out of
touch" with opinion on the NHS.

"He is threatening the fabric of the NHS," he told
MPs. "This bill shows everything people don't like about the government.
Broken promises, arrogance, incompetence, and ignoring people who know
something about the health service."

The reforms meant the NHS would be "subject to EU
competition law" in future, Mr Miliband suggested, arguing that the prime
minister should explain to people "what this had to do with health

"What is his answer on the NHS? It is a bill which
creates a free-market free-for-all and threatens existing NHS services."

Mr Cameron said there would be safeguards in the bill to
stop price competition and "cherry picking" of NHS patients by the
private sector - steps which he said Labour had failed to undertake while in

'Extra money'

The prime minister said Labour should not "set its
face" against reform of the NHS and he accused the Labour leader of
"reading a BMA press release" - arguing that the doctors'
organisation had opposed a stream of major health reforms in recent years.

"They [Labour] were in favour of competition in their
manifesto," he said. "All that has changed is just that they are
jumping on every bandwagon, supporting every union and blocking every reform
and opposing the extra money into the NHS."

Mr Cameron defended the reforms, saying the government was
not "re-organising" bureaucracy but "abolishing" it in the
interest of patient care.

"The fact is that we are not getting even the EU
average on cancer outcomes, you are twice as likely to do of a heart attack
here as you are in France, you have got an ageing population and more expensive
treatments and their answer is to do absolutely nothing."

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