DAVID Cameron was charged with a “disgusting” betrayal of his hospital waiting times pledge yesterday as a Tory minister admitted England’s NHS is in “crisis.”
The Prime Minister faced anger in Parliament amid a crisis which has seen 14 hospitals declare major incidents and fire engines used as makeshift ambulances.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said the public know that “if they want to get rid of the crisis in the NHS they have to get rid of this Prime Minister.”
The Commons clash came after hospital bosses blamed a shortage of staff and beds for shocking queues outside 12 hospital A&Es.
Staff at Swindon A&E were forced to pitch a tent in the car park to create extra space, while another NHS trust used Twitter to issue a desperate plea for help to off-duty doctors and nurses.
And the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) reported its members were forced to ride to the rescue amid an ambulance shortage.
Eighty-year-old Florence Cunningham revealed she lay waiting on her floor for an ambulance for over 11 hours after she collapsed at her Hampshire home.
Mr Cameron refused to take responsibility at Prime Minister’s Questions, claiming the NHS is “facing this winter with more doctors, more nurses and more money than it’s ever had in its history.”
Tory Cabinet Office Minister Sam Gyimah did admit though that England’s health system was in “crisis” on the BBC’s Daily Politics show.
Mr Miliband said the shambles was a betrayal of the PM’s “solemn promise” to patients made in June 2011.
He pointed out the PM had told the public: “I refuse to go back to the days when people had to wait for hours on end to be seen in A&E. So let me be absolutely clear we won’t.”
Mr Cameron accused the Labour leader of making a “disgusting” and “disgraceful” attempt to use the NHS as a “political football.”
But Labour’s leader told him: “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.”
Mr Miliband said it was “blindingly obvious” that the Tories’ cuts to social care, walk-in centres and a £3 billion top down re-organisation of the NHS had left the service unable to cope.
Welsh NHS workers also showed a red card to the Prime Minister’s protests of foul play.
Health union Unison Cymru called Mr Cameron’s continued slurs about the Welsh NHS, which he repeated yesterday, as a “kick in the teeth for dedicated” Welsh NHS workers.
Head of health Dawn Bowden said: “It is difficult to think that the Prime Minister’s comments are anything other than an attempt to draw the focus away from the negative reports about the NHS in England.”