Labour pledges to save ‘on the brink’ NHS

Labour leader Ed Miliband
Labour leader Ed Miliband
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Ed Miliband will put the NHS at the centre of the Labour Party’s General Election campaign by claiming the Tories would destroy the health service within five years.

Speaking at a rally in Manchester tomorrow, he will urge activists and supporters to engage in an unprecedented four million doorstep conversations with voters in the next four months.

Ahead of tomorrow’s speech, Mr Miliband said the “Tory experiment” had failed, with the Party set to fall short on its promise to eliminate the national deficit.

Attacking the Tories’ record, the Labour leader said: “It’s the first time since the 1920s that working people will be worse off at the end of a parliament than they were at the beginning. At a time when education and training are critical to the chances of earning a decent wage, tuition fees have trebled and apprenticeships for young people are falling.”

Pitching the NHS as a key political battleground between now and May, he said patients now faced longer waits to see GPs, in A&E and for operations. “The Tories have damaged the NHS in these five years,” Mr Miliband said. “Give them five more and the NHS, as we know it, just won’t be there.”

He said Labour would give people a guaranteed GP appointment within 48 hours, a one week wait for cancer tests, and a £2.5 billion Time to Care fund to support more midwives, care workers, doctors and nurses.

Labour would also introduce a £8 minimum wage, end zero hours contracts and would keep Britain in Europe as part of manifesto pledges which would avoid additional borrowing and devolve more powers from Whitehall, he said.