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Tuesday 20th March 2012 | 15:22
The emergency NHS debate is due to kick off any minute in the Commons, but it looks like Andrew Lansley has one easy propaganda weapon up his sleeve.
Government sources say Andy Burnham yesterday handed in to the Department of Health a petition from his own constituency. The petition from Wigan and Leigh 'Save our NHS'/KeepOurNHSPublic stated:
"We the undersigned are opposed to the Government's Health and Social Care Bill & £20billion of 'unmandated' cuts in NHS funding over the next 4 years. We say drop the bill and stop the cuts!"
There is one wee problemo with all this. The 'unmandated' £20bn cuts were ordered by NHS Chief Exec Sir David Nicholson...under the last Labour Government.
Burnham himself has strongly defended the need to make those very efficiency savings rather than reform the NHS in a Lansley fashion.
He said in March 2010: "We have already challenged the NHS to deliver efficiency savings of £15-20bn by 2013/14. By making tough efficiency savings, this will mean we can continue to increase real terms resources available for patient care year by year."
Even Ed Miliband has not resiled from the £20bn savings figure.
Maybe Mr Burnham just didn't read the small print on this petition. But Watch Lansley wave his piece of paper.
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