Labour is evoking the spirit of Blair’s 1997 victory by attacking the Conservatives on the NHS.
The shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has said if Labour is elected in May, it will invest £2.5bn a year in an NHS “time to care” fund, which will pay for 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs and an extra 5,000 care home workers. In 1997 Labour attacked the conservatives on health, claiming there were "24 hours to save the NHS."
Burnham's comments come after Labour released a 27-page dossier comparing the NHS and its funding levels with countries such as Mexico and South Korea, where state spending on health is at a similar level to the UK's. The report suggests that unless funding is increased, the NHS will become increasingly privatised to stay functional.
Labour has attacked the government’s NHS Health and Social Care Act, saying profits are now prioritised over patients. Burnham said that a lack of nurses and care home workers has left the NHS on the brink.
That is the root cause of the crisis in A&E and ambulance services across the country. Hospitals are becoming dysfunctional, they just cannot get people home because the nursing home places are not there, therefore people are becoming trapped; we’ve got record numbers of older people trapped in hospital right now and that is a result of huge cuts to social care.
Ed Miliband is expected to ram home Burnham’s comments tomorrow, saying that the NHS is on “life support” and “cannot survive five more years of David Cameron.”
The Conservatives countered the claims, saying that the only way to improve the NHS was to build a stronger economy. Miliband, a Tory spokesman said, “has no economic plan and would put the entire NHS at risk.”