16. May 2012 13:02
Labour leader Ed Miliband has attacked the Government’s handling of the NHS reforms insisting they ignored the views of key healthcare professionals.
Speaking at the Royal College of Nursing conference, Mr Miliband accused the Government of pushing ahead with its controversial structural changes despite serious concerns from the RCN.
He said the Government had dismissed the RCN as “just a ‘vested interest’” but insisted they are actually the “defenders of the health service”.
“The government have been acting like they are the masters, not the servants, of the NHS,” said the Labour leader. “They are not the masters. Not this government. Not any government.
“Our health service is owned by patients, professionals and the people. And their voice – your voice – deserves to be heard.”
Mr Miliband added that he couldn’t promise to agree with the College on all matters but would not ignore them as the Government had done during the ‘listening exercise’ as part of the Health and Social Care Act.
Nurses were told that Mr Miliband wants to create a partnership with the College to address long-term challenges facing the health service. “I want to start working with you now to protect the values of the NHS and to hold the government to account for what’s going on,” he said.
“You are not just on the frontline in our NHS. You are the first line in the defence of our NHS.”
The Labour leader also revealed a new party initiative during his speech. NHS Check will allow staff and patients to report problems encountered by hospitals, clinics and GPs as a result of the NHS reforms.