The NHS as we know it will not survive five more years of the Conservatives in Government, warn Labour.
Labour says the NHS is already on ‘life support’ and service standards will continue to decline if the Tories are still in Government following next months general election.
According to an analysis published by the Labour Party, Tory plans to double the pace of spending cuts would put the NHS at substantial risk.
If current trends continue, 1.5 million hospital beds could be lost every year due to delayed discharges and more than 100,000 operations cancelled.
The analysis also suggests that by 2020 over two million people a year could be left waiting for treatment in A&E for over four hours.
Labour also warns that up to four million people could be stuck on waiting lists within five years.
Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, said David Cameron’s record on the NHS is one of broken promises and an NHS going “downhill”.
Mr Burnham said: Andy Burnham, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said: “The last five years have proved one of the oldest truths in British politics – you simply cannot trust what the Tories say on the NHS.
“At the last election David Cameron was at pains to pose as a friend of the NHS, making a series of promises, but he has failed to keep those promises and the NHS has gone downhill on his watch.
“Under the Tories it’s got harder and harder to see your GP, A&Es are in crisis and there are now over three million patients on the waiting list.
“Over half of the hospitals David Cameron promised to protect have either been closed or downgraded or face a threat of closure. This has happened while £3 billion has been wasted on a reorganisation which was fast-tracked fragmentation and privatisation.
“The simple truth is the NHS can’t go through another five years like the five it has just had. Five more years of broken promises, falling standards, cuts and closures.”
Liz Kendall, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, added: “The NHS as we know it cannot survive five more years of the Tories.
“The Tory promises on the NHS cannot be trusted. Another five years of the Tories risks further decline, with millions more facing long waits in A&E, millions more facing long waits to see a GP and ambulance response times for the most serious call-outs rising to an average of over nine minutes.
“This is not the NHS as we know it.
“The choice at this election is between Labour’s better plan and a Tory Party that cannot keep its promises.
“The NHS is on life support – don’t let the Tories pull the plug.”
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said spending on the NHS fell by an average of 1% of GDP under the Tory-led coalition – the equivalent to a £7 billion cut.
“First, the Tories want people to believe that they are not planning cuts to the NHS. But the Tories’ spending plans actually mean doubling the pace of cuts next year”, he said.
“Second, David Cameron claims he can somehow give the NHS an extra £8 billion, though not until 2020. But he cannot say where the money is coming from. As Ed Miliband has said, you cannot fund the NHS on an IOU.
“In the last ten days Tory Ministers have been asked 60 times where the money is coming from and 60 times they have been totally unable to answer. And David Cameron failed to answer again yesterday.
“We all know David Cameron is a serial offender when it comes to claims at election time. He broke his promises on the NHS, on VAT and on tax credits last time. And he’ll break his promises again.”
Conservative Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted: “They claim NHS is on life support yet still the only party to refuse to fund the £8bn NHS says it needs.”
A Tory spokesperson added: “This marks a new low in Ed Miliband’s desperate attempts to weaponise the NHS.
“His credibility on health is in tatters because he refuses to fund the £8bn the NHS needs.
“By building a stronger economy, we have protected and improved the NHS with 9,500 more doctors, 6,900 more nurses, and 1.3 million more life-saving operations every year.”
Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrats health spokesperson, said: “Neither Labour nor the Tories have a credible response to the funding challenges that the NHS faces.
“Labour are unwilling to commit the £8bn needed and the Tories refuse to say how they will find the money.”