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Thursday 19th April 2012 | 14:54
Labour press release
Andy Burnham MP, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, speaking after the release of new waiting times figures today, said:
"These figures are a huge embarrassment for a Prime Minister who promised to keep NHS waiting times low. On his own test, he is failing patients and the public.
“David Cameron personally promised to protect the NHS but he is leaving patients waiting longer in pain and discomfort. On his watch, the NHS is heading straight back to the bad old days of the last Tory Government when people had to wait or pay to go private. Mr Cameron’s plan to let NHS hospitals devote more beds to private patients will only make matters worse with NHS patients pushed even further to the back of the queue.
"David Cameron has been less than honest with the public on the NHS. In his desperation to get his Health Bill through Parliament, Cameron repeatedly claimed waiting times were falling. We now know this is not true and this is a man who cannot be trusted on the NHS.
"Labour left the lowest NHS waiting times since records began but, since the Tory-led Government came to power, there has been a 27% increase in patients who waited longer than 18 weeks for treatment. On the Prime Minister’s preferred measurement of average waiting times, the figure was 8.4 weeks in May 2010 and on today’s figures is 8.7 weeks.
"Patients are paying the price for David Cameron's disastrous decision toreorganise the NHS at a time of financial stress. He was repeatedly warned against this by health professionals but put his political pride before the best interests of patients. Every day from now until the next General Election, we will hold him to account for his personal betrayal of the NHS as it struggles to cope with what he has thrown at it."