Send for the doctor! Ed Miliband can't remember his NHS policy after saying reversing Health Act will cause chaos… but then promises to do just thatLabour leader told voters in Manchester it would not be ’sensible’ and cost £3billion to unpick the coalition’s NHS reformsToday Mr Miliband said he WOULD repeal the health and Social Care ActVoters say Labour are more trusted on the NHS than the ToriesThe health service has to make £5billion every year in efficiency savings
06:56 GMT, 1 October 2012
Ed Miliband's health policy was in chaos today after he took less than 24 hours to abandon his promise to protect the NHS from another costly reorganisation
Ed Miliband’s health policy was in chaos today after he took less than 24 hours to abandon his promise to protect the NHS from another costly reorganisation.
The Labour leader went from warning yesterday that he would not reverse the coalition’s controversial Health and Social Care Act to promising to do just that.
While Labour has extended its lead over the Tories for being trusted with the health service, the confusion will do little to persuade voters Mr Miliband is ready to take tough decisions in government.
The NHS has to make £5billion every year in efficient savings by 2015 to make up for smaller rises in funding and growing demand from an ageing population.
The Health and Social Care Act sparked the first big coalition split two years ago when then-Health Secretary Andrew Lansley unveiled the largest shake-up of the NHS in its 60 year history.
Primary Care Trusts were abolished, with £60billion in health spending handed to groups run by GPs.
After months of wrangling and re-writing, which saw several elements watered down and the role of private firms curtailed, it passed into law earlier this year.
Mr Lansley was demoted at the reshuffled and replaced by Jeremy Hunt.
Yesterday Mr Miliband said he could not promise to reverse the changes if he became Prime Minister.
He told a Q&A in Manchester: ’I think what would be not sensible is for us to come along and say, “well, Andrew Lansley, now Jeremy Hunt, they’re changing all the arrangements, have these new clinical commissioning groups and so on, and we’re just going to reverse it all back and spend another £3bn on another top-down bureaucratic organisation”'
But within hours Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, tweeted: ’I'll repeal the Bill. Full stop.’
Andy Burnham, shadow health secretary, said that he would repeal the bill
Aides then suggested the legislation could be repealed, but not all of the changes it introduced would be reversed.
Today Mr Miliband appeared to admit that he got it wrong yesterday.
He told BBC One’s the Andrew Marr Show: ’We will repeal their NHS bill. It puts the wrong principles back at the heart of the NHS, it puts the principles of competition, markets and money as the central defining principles of the NHS.
’We are going to repeal the bill, we are going to make those changes but of course we have to look at the detail of some of the reforms, some of the changes that have been made because I don't want to just shuffle the deckchairs all over the place again.’
Lib Dem health minister Norman Lamb today said it would be 'madness' for Labour to repeal the Health and Social Care Act.
my point of view, anyone who believes in the NHS and who wants to see a
sustainable NHS dealing with really challenging problems of an aging
population, should just be interested in making this work,' he told BBC
One's Sunday Politics.
say repeal the act, effectively, is telling the NHS we're going to go
through another complete restructuring. It would be madness to do that.'