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Tue, 31 March 2020

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Labour vows to bring NHS 'back from the brink' as studies reveal safety fears

Labour vows to bring NHS 'back from the brink' as studies reveal safety fears
2 min read

Labour has vowed to pull the NHS back from the "brink" as research by the party revealed patients and staff are being put at risk in hospitals across England.

Analysis of more than 120 NHS Trust board papers show spending cuts and staff shortages have led to a huge backlog of essential repairs.

Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth said Labour would "get on top of" the problems within the first 100 days of winning Thursday's general election.

Among the problems identified by the party are "a high potential of catastrophic failure of the roof structure" at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, and “unsuitable environments for safe clinical care” at Morecambe Bay Hospital.

Labour also identified "an extreme risk of a shortage of radiologists affecting breast cancer screening" in Newcastle Upon Tyne and "a catastrophic risk of inadequate staffing levels in the anaesthetic department" of Southport and Ormskirk Hospital Trust.

Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth said: "These shocking reports reveal an NHS in crisis and on the brink.

"It is one thing for clinicians and managers to say what needs fixing, but we need a Labour government that will crack on and do it.

"We pledge that within the first 100 days of a Labour government we will get on top of this to ensure the extra funding we've promised is prioritised to keep patients and staff safe.

"The choice at this election is clear: five more years of the Tories running our health service into the ground - with more patients waiting longer for cancer treatment and operations, and more young people denied mental health care - or a Labour government on the side of patients and staff, with a rescue plan for our NHS."

Labour is keen to keep the focus on the future of the NHS in the last 48 hours of the election campaign.

But Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "We are already embarking on the largest hospital building programme in a generation, building 40 new hospitals across the country, as well as investing in hospital upgrades and new machines to boost early cancer diagnosis. This is on top of the extra £33.9 billion a year by 2023 to 2024 that the government is providing to the NHS.

"A majority Conservative government will ensure that the NHS has the workforce it needs, including 50,000 more nurses on the frontline by 2025 to ease workforce pressures, and deliver 6,000 more GPs and 6,000 more primary care staff in England over the course of the next parliament."

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