LABOUR pledged a multi-billion-pound rescue package for the NHS yesterday as an explosive new report exposed details of a “secret Tory post-election plan for cuts and closures.”
According to research published in the Health Service Journal, managers in 14 areas across the country have been told to “think the unthinkable” and make swingeing cuts, including shutting wards, sacking staff and closing A&E and maternity departments.
The plans are so toxic that they are being kept secret from the public until after the general election as NHS England and NHS Improvement officials discuss the measures behind closed doors.
The 14 areas under pressure to make savage cuts are: Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset; Cambridgeshire and Peterborough; Cheshire (Eastern, Vale Royal and South); Cornwall; Devon; Morecambe Bay; Northumbria; North Central London; North Lincolnshire; North West London; South East London; Staffordshire; Surrey and Sussex; Vale of York and Scarborough and Ryedale.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth warned: “The NHS cannot survive five more years of a Tory government” as he promised to bring the health service “back from the brink with a multi-billion-pound rescue package.
“The British people deserve nothing less.”
And Keep Our NHS Public cochairman Dr Tony O’Sullivan said: “Please, we are pleading to people, do not vote Conservative if you want the NHS to survive.”
Appearing on Woman’s Hour on Radio 4 yesterday, Home Secretary Amber Rudd did not rule out the possibility of hospitals being fined for refusing to sell off NHS land under controversial plans in the Naylor Report.
Ms May indicated that she would implement the recommendations of the report, written by former hospital director Sir Robert Naylor, if re-elected.
The report, which was published in March, recommends selling a staggering £2 billion of NHS land to build 26,000 new homes.
And it suggests cutting off access to capital funding for trusts that refuse to draw up “sufficiently stretching plans” to sell off assets.
Campaigners have warned of a “2-for-1 bribe” being offered by the government who would double the money hospitals receive for a sale over a limited period to speed up the process and unlock the extra cash.
Ms May claimed the land sales would help raise £10bn to fund “the most ambitious programme on investment and buildings and technology the NHS has ever seen.”
Mr Ashworth warned: “With 48 hours to go until the general election the true scale of the secret Tory plan for cuts and closures across the NHS has been revealed.
“Every single day the Tories are in power hospitals are being left to crumble, staff are being let down, waiting lists are growing and patients are being denied the care they need and deserve.
“Let’s be clear: these new, secret Tory plans will only be stopped by electing a Labour government on Thursday.”