Labour quartet to shadow hospital staff as reforms fight stepped up

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STAFF at Leeds’s St James’s Hospital will be shadowed by Labour politicians today as the party steps up its campaign against controversial health reforms.

Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham will spend time with a hospital porter as he seeks to discover the “true picture” of life working in the NHS.

He and his colleagues will each publish a blog later in the day outlining their experiences – before campaigning against the Government’s reforms.

Mr Burnham has launched an online “Drop the Bill” petition, which has already attracted nearly 15,000 signatures in two days, calling on Ministers to abandon the flagship reforms which include giving more power to GPs and scrapping primary care trusts.

“Labour’s ‘Drop the Bill’ campaign will be fought in every corner of the country, not just in Westminster,” said Mr Burnham. “I want to see for myself the reality on the ground and hear directly from NHS staff so I can use their experiences to challenge this out- of-touch Government.

“In opposition, David Cameron promised no more top-down re-organisation of the NHS. In Government, he went back on his word and brought forward a dangerous Health Bill that has no democratic legitimacy.

“The people of Leeds did not vote for the Bill and its doctors, nurses and patients have already expressed huge concerns. But David Cameron is ignoring professional and public opinion and is ploughing on with the plans.”

Today’s event will be the first of ten party campaign events against the Health and Social Care Bill .

Mr Burnham and Shadow Health Ministers Jamie Reed, Andrew Gwynne and Debbie Abrahams will work alongside NHS staff behind closed doors to hear from staff about the impact of the reforms.