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  1. ITV Report

Labour calls for £500m NHS fund to avoid winter crisis

Labour has called for an extra £500-million injection for the NHS to help avoid a winter crisis.

Hundreds of operations will be cancelled and waiting lists will grow if the season is as busy as last year, according to Labour analysis.

And throughout the past year, waiting lists topped four million, while some 2.5 million people waited over four hours in A&E.

Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said a Jeremy Corbyn-led government would provide an additional half a billion pounds to alleviate the winter pressure.

Speaking at the Labour party conference, he also revealed Labour would allocate an additional £45 billion for the NHS and social care if elected.

Previous winter bailouts have cost up to £700 million. Credit: PA

Labour say the £500m fund should be used to increase hospitals' capacity to cope with the winter spike in patients, enabling hospitals to hire extra non-agency staff as well as to improve the link between the NHS and social care to speed up transfers of care. . Previous winter bailouts have ranged between £300 million and £700 million.

Mr Ashworth claimed the NHS was facing a daily situation where people were left with "no option but to pay for a surgeon to come to their bedside, while the rest wait longer and longer".

"A person’s health should never depend on their individual wealth," he said.

"So a Labour Government would allocate an extra £45 billion for our NHS and social care sector.

"And to avoid another winter like the one we’ve just had, we would establish a half billion pound emergency winter fund, so that patients and their families never suffer like that again."

Ashworth said the NHS was in a 'Tory-manufactured' crisis. Credit: PA

He added: "Don’t let anyone tell you we cannot afford to invest in the NHS.

"If our forebears were able to marshal their resources to create our NHS in 1948, then we owe it to their endeavour 70 years later, to give our NHS the funding it needs today."

His comments came after health chiefs warned earlier this month that the NHS could face its worst winter in recent history.

Experts said the health service needed an emergency cash boost of between £200 million and £350 million to cope with the added demands of winter.