‘Time for NHS change’ – MP

Andy Burnham MP

Andy Burnham MP

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A WIGAN borough MP has slammed the Government’s handling of the NHS as a leading think tank says the service has run out of money.

The next government will inherit an NHS where waiting times for patients are likely to get worse, according to a report released this week by the King’s Fund.

Leigh MP and shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the think tank’s findings show an “urgent need for change”.

The Department of Health said the report highlighted the NHS has “performed well in the face of huge challenges”.

The report states all areas of the NHS are feeling the strain, highlighting particular concerns about the missing of key waiting-time targets for A&E, hospital treatment and cancer treatment, increased hospital bed occupancy and delayed discharges of patients and low morale among staff.

Mr Burnham said: “May 7 is shaping up to be David Cameron’s day of reckoning on the NHS.

“In 2010, Cameron said he would cut the deficit, not the NHS. What this report reveals is that he is on course to create a large deficit in the NHS.

“It is scandalous that he spent £3 billion on a reorganisation that has left the NHS worse off.

“What is clear is that the fragile NHS we now have can’t take five more years like the five it has just had. It can’t afford the Tories’ plan for deeper care cuts in the next parliament.

“It urgently needs new leadership and a change of course. Labour has set out a better plan to restore the NHS, rebuild it as a national health and care service and invest £2.5bn extra a year - on top of Tory spending plans - to fund 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs.”

The report did say, however, that progress had been made within the service in improving efficiency.

But additional funding, with an absolute minimum of £8bn per year, is required to “meet patient needs and maintain standards of care”.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh Foundation Trust declined to comment.