Shadow Health Secretary condemns Conservative record on NHS

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham (centre) with Labour PPCs Holly Lynch and Josh Fenton-Glynn
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham (centre) with Labour PPCs Holly Lynch and Josh Fenton-Glynn

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary has said that the crisis gripping our NHS is the fault of the Prime Minister David Cameron.

Andy Burnham spoke to a group of Labour activists outside Northgate House, Halifax, with a simple message - the NHS is not safe under the Conservatives.

Mr Burnham dismissed claims made by Mr Cameron that the financial deficit at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust is as a result of a deal to build Calderdale Royal Hospital under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI).

He said the deal was put together by John Major’s Conservative government in 1995, and that it wasn’t something that could easily be reversed.

He said: “When I was Health Secretary, your local trust was in surplus - in the last few years of the Labour government, it was in surplus.

“If the PFI was the root cause of all the problems and the cause of everything that’s going wrong, I’m afraid that those figures don’t show that.

“The trust has seen a massive increase in its agency staff bill in the last few - a £4 million increase in the last year for which we have figures, and that’s a similar number to the deficit that it’s currently running.

“I think Mr Cameron needs to look at his own watch to find out some of the problems that the trust is facing.

“Across the NHS, he’s trained too few staff and has left NHS organisations in the grip of private staffing agencies - I hold him responsible for that. There’s a bigger backstory to this than Mr Cameron would conveniently have us believe,” he said.

Josh Fenton-Glynn, Labour’s PPC for Calder Valley, said: “We are fighting to keep the A&E open - we’ve been fighting for two years to keep the A&E open.

“Anything coming from the Conservatives at this last minute is pure, simple and blatent opportunism,” he added.