Health service bosses were accused yesterday of scare-mongering over standards of care at London hospitals as an excuse to force through hugely unpopular closures.
NHS England claims that London's hospitals are "unsafe" and "unsustainable."
But long-running campaign to defend the NHS London Health Emergency (LHE) condemned the bosses' claims as "a cynical bid to stampede Londoners into accepting hospital closures."
The campaigners said the real problem was government cuts - and that NHS England has manufactured the claims about safety as a cover for savage slashes to funding.
And they warned that if planned closures of accident and emergency units and other services go ahead "wealthy Tory voters will die alongside the poor in the delays and chaos that would follow."
LHE director Dr John Lister said: "This is not a health crisis but a financial crisis.
"The problem has been entirely manufactured by unrealistic government spending limits as they slash public services to pay back the billions used to bail out the banks."
NHS England wants to shut at least nine of London's 27 accident and emergency units, along with paediatric and maternity units.
LHE said the city already faced a dire shortage of mental health beds and that primary care services are being slashed to save money.
Dr Lister said the cuts "threaten the end of a viable NHS in London and elsewhere.
"NHS England admits that maintaining the present system with 'zero financial growth' would bring a London shortfall of £4 billion by 2020 and a national deficit of £30bn.
"A sensible answer would be to increase spending to sustain health care, not wreck the NHS to impose an artificial balance.
"And don't let anyone imagine the private-sector offers any solution or escape - the services at risk here are precisely the high-risk and costly services the private sector will not provide because they make no profit."
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