Ed Miliband put the NHS at the centre of his election campaign launch as he promised to cap profits for private health firms.
The Labour leader kick started his campaign in London with a speech dedicated in large parts to the NHS and a message that “Britain can do better”.
A Labour government would act to ensure health services are no longer “threatened” by privatisation and to provide £2.5 billion of extra investment, funded by taxes on expensive properties and tobacco companies and a crackdown on tax avoidance, he said.
Under Labour’s plans, a new profit cap - usually 5% - would be set on outsourced healthcare contracts worth over £500,000, private companies would be blocked from “cherry-picking” lucrative treatments and the NHS would become the “preferred provider” for all services.
Speaking at the Olympic Park in east London, Mr Miliband said: “We need to rescue our NHS from this Government, and we will.
“Just think about how far backwards the NHS has gone in the last five years. People waiting longer and longer to see a GP. Ambulances queuing up outside hospitals, because A&E is full. Even a treatment tent erected in a hospital car park.
“For all the promises, for all the air-brushed posters, David Cameron has broken his solemn vow to the British people when it comes to our NHS.
“And that is even before their plan for the next few years. Cuts even deeper than those we have seen in this last five.
“Well, that’s not the future I believe in. That’s not the future you believe in. And it’s not the future the British people can believe in either.
“So we will turn around our NHS. With a Labour government there will be a new double-lock to protect our National Health Service, guaranteeing proper funding and stopping its privatisation.”