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Labour urged to reverse police-ambulance chaos

Campaigners demand election pledge on restoring cuts

Health campaigners demanded that Labour pledge to restore health service spending yesterday after police officers revealed that they're being forced to ferry people to hospital because of the crisis hitting A&E units.

A log detailing incidents of police using their cars as ambulances because none was available has been leaked to the media.

It included police having to step in at bank holidays because of a seven-hour delay in getting an ambulance, officers facing internal inquiries because patients they rushed to hospital subsequently died and taking a teenager who'd tried to kill themself to A&E.

Campaign group London Health Emergency director John Lister said the scandal was a "knock-on from the financial squeeze in the NHS."

He said: "It has undergone its meanest five years in funding, and now it is really starting to tell - a week ago there were no mental health beds available in London or the rest of the country. Now basic services like ambulances are lacking.

"It is an issue that cannot be resolved with existing resources. We have to get these ministers to think again."

Mr Lister warned that the situation is inevitably going to worsen from 2015 to 2020.

"We are going to get more and more of this," he said. "There are another £30 billion cuts to come, on top of £20bn already implemented.

"What we would like to see is the Labour Party coming out and saying they will reverse the cuts and increase spending, but they have yet to come out with it."

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: "(Health Secretary) Jeremy Hunt has failed to grasp the urgency of the A&E crisis and, as a result, the chaos is now spreading to other emergency services.

"The alarming fact that police cars are now doubling as make-shift ambulances is a clear sign of how bad things have got on his watch."


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