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Labour calls for NHS reforms apology from Tories

The party wants Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt to meet five key tests to bring the NHS back from the “brink”.

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth has called for the Tories to apologise to the country for the “dangerous and ludicrous reforms” the party introduced to the NHS.

Mr Ashworth said the controversial Health and Social Care Act 2012, brought in by then Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, amounted to “a shameful, failed experiment”.

He has called on Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt to meet five key tests, which the Labour party believes can bring the NHS back from the “brink”.

Mr Ashworth has called on the Government to deliver the long-term funding needed to reduce waiting lists and improve services, and stop breaking up and privatising healthcare.

Instead, services including social care, community health and mental health services – along with those for people with long-term chronic conditions – should be properly resourced and brought together.

The Health and Social Care act was a shameful, failed experiment Jonathan Ashworth MP

Labour is also calling for more recruitment, training and better retention of staff, along with getting the NHS to take more advantage of the technological advancements and innovations of the future such as artificial intelligence and genomics.

The party wants to see a reduction in health inequalities with an emphasis on public health and child health outcomes.

Mr Ashworth said he is also calling on Mr Hunt to intervene to prevent the mass outsourcing of NHS staff in 30 hospitals.

This week staff at Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust took industrial action against proposals by the trust to outsource large swathes of cleaning and facilities staff.

Mr Ashworth said: “The reforms forced on our health service by the Tory-Lib Dem coalition government were the biggest disaster in the proud 70 year history of the NHS.

“The Tories were warned that their foolhardy reforms would lead to the fragmentation and privatisation of our public health service, and undermine the integration and co-ordination necessary to manage the NHS. But they have turned out even worse than anyone could have imagined.

“The Health and Social Care act was a shameful, failed experiment inflicted on our public health service by the Tories, and our NHS and its patients have suffered as a result of its dangerous and ludicrous reforms.”

Mr Ashworth said the Labour party would be able to put the pieces of the “broken NHS” back together again.

“Record underfunding, combined with the Tories’ disastrous reforms, have pushed our NHS to the brink, only held together by the hard work and dedication of its heroic workers,” he added.

“Labour will scrap the disastrous Health and Social Care Act, end Tory outsourcing and privatisation, and give the NHS the funding that it needs.”

Mr Ashworth, discussing health funding on The Marr Show, refused to be pinned down on whether Labour would give the NHS more than the Tories, saying he would “scrutinise” proposals carefully.

Pressed four times by Mr Marr, he did not directly answer whether Labour needs to spend more on the health service than it is currently proposing, saying the party would budget fully ahead of the next general election.

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