Prime minister David Cameron is responsible for the current crisis in A&E departments and not doctors, Labour leader Ed Miliband has said in his speech to the Labour Party Conference.
Mr Miliband said the coalition had blamed doctors for the crisis for political reasons and promised Labour would ‘save the NHS yet again’ if they are elected in 2015.
He blamed the current crisis on the top down reorganisation ‘that nobody voted for’ and the chaotic introduction of NHS 111, and said that the vast majority of doctors and nurses ‘are doing a fantastic job’.
He added: ‘Sometimes things go wrong, and when they do, we should be the first people to say so. But the reason David Cameron is running down the NHS is not because the doctors and nurses can’t master the job as they were before, it is because they’ve come to a realisation that the health service is getting worse on their watch and they are desperately thrashing around trying to find someone else to blame.
‘Blame the doctors. Blame the nurses. Blame the last Labour Government.’
He added that he wanted the Labour party to ‘raise its sights’ for what the health service can achieve and confirmed that Andy Burnham’s plans to integrate health and social care would be taken forward if he formed a government.
He said: ‘The 1945 Labour Government, in really tough times, raised its sights and created the National Health Service. I want the next Labour Government to do the same. Even in tough times, to raise our sights for what the health service can achieve. Bringing together physical health, mental health and the care needs of the elderly into a truly integrated health service.’
‘But we don’t just need to improve the health service, friends, we’ve got to rescue it from these Tories. And the liberals too.’
He added that the coalition had ‘wrecked’ the NHS and that the NHS reforms were partly responsible.
He said: ‘We know who is responsible – the top down reorganisation that nobody voted for and nobody wanted. The abolition of NHS Direct… the fragmentation of services. We know who is responsible for thousands fewer nurses. We know who is responsible, not just for an annual A&E crisis, but an A&E crisis for all seasons. It is this prime minister who is responsible.’