THE bitter dividing lines on the NHS took centre stage as David Cameron accused Labour of “weaponising “ the crisis hit health service.
The Prime Minister was defending himself amid claims he was blaming patients for the delays facing A&E departments across the country.
In a furious Commons exchange Labour leader Ed Miliband said the PM’s NHS policy was “disgusting” amid claims reductions to social care services to older people and the “top-down reorganisation” of the NHS had left staff unable to cope with increased demand.
Mr Cameron turned his fire on the Labour leader, claiming he had talked of “weaponising” the NHS in a “disgusting” attempt to make political capital from its strains.
In bad-tempered exchanges at Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Miliband replied: “I’ll tell you what’s disgusting - it’s a Prime Minister who said people could put their trust in him on the NHS.
“You have betrayed that trust. You are in denial about the crisis in the NHS. This is a crisis on your watch as a result of your decisions.
“That is why people know if they want to get rid of the crisis in the NHS they have to get rid of this Prime Minister.”
Mr Cameron hit back, telling MPs: “If ever you wanted proof (Labour) want to use this issue as a political football you have just seen it.” Mr Miliband said: “This is about politics, it’s your politics and they have failed.”
Mr Miliband said other decisions which caused “blindingly obvious” problems for A&E were reductions to social care services to older people and the “top-down reorganisation” of the NHS.
At least 10 hospital trusts have been forced to activate major incident plans in recent days to cope with a surge in demand, and Mr Cameron admitted the NHS is under “pressure” after waiting times in England plummeted to their worst levels in more than a decade.
Elsewhere in parliament Conservative MP Julian Sturdy said people living in rural North Yorkshire faced a “health postcode lottery” as a result of continuing disadvantages in how health cash is allocated.
The York Outer MP said the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group received as much as £17m less than it could get, with a lack of funding leading to patients being denied some treatments.
“The Vale of York has cleared its deficit yet it still struggles to offer may services that constituents have a right to expect because allocations have continued with an historic unfairness,” Mr Sturdy said..
He told MPs: “Out of the ten allocation criteria nine disadvantage North Yorkshire, failing to take into account the rural nature of the area.
“The CCG here receives the lowest amount of all commissioning groups in the area, and while I know health needs are generally greater in more deprived areas, the current formula is too biased towards deprived areas.
“There are additional costs covering rural areas, longer ambulance journeys for example, or to maintain smaller hospitals in rural areas.
“It clearly causes disparity in Yorkshire and the country, We have to move towards a funding formula that gives greater weight to age and recognises rurality.”
Health minister George Freeman agreed rural areas did have specific needs that had to be addressed.