Friday, 12 July 2013

Andy Burnham: UK's finest asset the NHS is in sick hands

On July 5, 1948, the great Nye Bevan opened his National Health Service at Trafford Hospital. Sixty-five years and six days later, his successor Jeremy Hunt, who is not fit to lace his boots, scurried to the House of Commons to announce the closure of its A&E in a major downgrade, without having the courtesy to inform the local MP Kate Green.

Hunt’s advisers found time to give the Murdoch empire market-sensitive information but he could not be bothered to tell Kate about the closure. Not only does that tell you everything you need to know about the man, there can be no clearer sign of this Government’s disregard and disrespect for the NHS and those who rely on it.

While Labour cherished and nurtured the NHS, this ­Government carves it apart. And it is patients who are paying the price for the monumental mismanagement of hospital reconfiguration.

This Government pledged a moratorium on hospital closures. That promise must go down as one of the most cynical and dishonest of modern times. The biggest crime of all is robbing a community of a successful A&E to solve the ­problems of the Government’s own making.

Where changes can be shown to save lives Labour will always support them. But we will never allow communities to be picked off by an arrogant government that is hellbent on the destruction of our country’s finest asset.

Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Health Secretary