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Government have lost control of the NHS

Save our NHS, nurse image by Chris MillettDavid Cameron once promised the health service was safe in his hands, he said his priority could be summed up in three letters – NHS.

To highlight his commitment the Conservative Party prior to the election repeatedly promised “no more top down reorganisations”. However, within months of its formation,the Coalition pursued the biggest reorganisation since the creation of the NHS at a cost of £3 billion.

The truth about the Government’s reforms were finally exposed this weekend when Public Health Minister Jane Ellison MP was secretly recorded telling the Tory Reform Group that the Lansley act pretty much gave away control of the NHS, and the Government could no longer exert much day to day control. She added that power over the NHS has been given away without the public realising, saying “From a political point of view, it is a bit like being on a high wire without a net at times, it can be quite exciting”.

While Government Ministers might be enjoying the excitement of causing chaos in the NHS, it is the public that are suffering as targets are missed, waiting times increase, and costs spiral out of control.

In recent weeks we have learnt that the NHS missed its cancer treatment standard for the first time, leaving cancer sufferers waiting longer for their treatment to start. The deterioration of cancer services were in the news again with 17,000 people suspected of having cancer waiting longer than they should be as the diagnostic test waiting lists are at a six year high.

More generally, NHS waiting lists have exceeded the three million mark for the first time in six year, embarrassing for a Prime Minister who said the test of his NHS reforms would be its effects on waiting times.

A&E Departments are at breaking point, gripped by a summer crisis, with record numbers attending and thousands waiting too long to be seen.

The efficiency savings the Government promised from their reforms have never materialised. In fact, they have made matters worse with rising costs. It is now estimated that there will be an annual £20bn – £30bn funding gap by 2020.

Today, more than 1 in 3 acute Trusts are in deficit, compared to just 1 in 10 at the time of the last election. Two thirds of hospitals have gone into the red since the election, and NHS finances have gone backwards in every English region since 2010.

The Government have caused chaos in the NHS, they have lost control and refuse to accept any responsibility for rising costs, longer waiting lists and the deterioration of services. The latest admission by the Public Health Minister shows that you can’t trust the Government with the NHS, and as we did in 1997, it will again fall to Labour to rescue the NHS after the neglect and mismanagement of a Tory Government.

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