– Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Health Secretary
Labour has warned for months of the growing crisis in accident and emergency units across England. Now that the head of the Government's own watchdog has confirmed it, ministers can't continue to ignore it.
It's becoming clearer by the day that emergency care is in crisis, yet the Queen's Speech had nothing to say about the growing pressures on the NHS.
The NHS has been dragged down by a toxic mix of cuts and re-organisation.
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham told Daybreak that Labour agreed with the claims made by the Royal College of Nursing this morning, adding that cuts to staffing levels was causing "intense pressure" on hospital wards.
"Having enough staff on the ground is essential to delivering safe care".
As many as 30 A&E departments face closure or changes to their hours, as the government tries to save money.
Proposals over cuts to Lewisham hospital in south-east London are to be decided on Friday, after a neighbouring South London Healthcare NHS Trust ran up debts of £150 million.
Speaking to ITV Daybreak, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham agreed it does make sense to make closures as more lives can be saved by centralising services on one particular site.
But he did not agree that Lewisham A&E should be at risk over the financial failings of another trust.
"I think it's dangerous to do that given the pressure that we are seeing on A&Es in London and right across the country", he said.
The shadow health secretary Andy Burnham has said that the Prime Minister's "headline-grabbing" NHS care announcement "don't address the real issue" of inadequate staffing levels to provide safe care.
Hillsborough campaigner and shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: "Starting this process off three years ago, we couldn't have hoped then that it would come to this.
"It is unbelievable what the families have been through. For them to get on a coach in Liverpool at 5am and come down to London and be told what they should have been told 23 years ago says so much about their determination."
Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary said:
Whilst David Cameron wastes billions on back-office restructuring, the front-line of the NHS is taking a battering. Ambulances are once again queuing up outside A&Es across England. In many hospitals there are simply not enough qualified nurses on the ground and healthcare assistants are increasingly being used to cover nurses’ roles.
Since David Cameron walked through the door of 10 Downing Street, over six thousand nursing posts have been lost. At the same time, he has spent £1 billion on redundancy packages for managers. Six-figure pay-outs to managers; P45s to nurses – what clearer illustration could there be of a Government with its priorities completely wrong?
The truth is that this Government has de-stabilised the NHS with a re-organisation nobody wanted and two years of real-terms spending cuts. It is this deadly combination of cuts and re-organisation that has proved toxic for the NHS and left it in a critical condition. Ministers are taking unacceptable risks with standards of patient care and they cannot continue to ignore the warnings from nurses’ and doctors’ leaders. They must urgently intervene to protect the NHS front-line as it cannot safely sustain job losses at this level.
The Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has said he welcomes the proposal to legally oblige health professionals to inform patients' relatives before making end-of-life care decisions.
He said: "I welcome this move to strengthen families' rights in end-of-life care.
"I support the Liverpool Care Pathway, but it is absolutely essential that it is properly explained to people. Families must be fully involved and consulted at every stage.
"But, while these changes are good as far as they go, I would like to see much more ambition from the Government on end-of-life care.
"Far too many families in England find themselves spending their final hours with a loved-one in a hospital. Many would much rather be together at home or in a hospice.
Andy Burnham, who as Culture Secretary instigated an independent review of the Hillsborough files in 2010, said today's findings showed there was a "monumental cover-up" and that the people of Liverpool were "emphatically cleared".
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has launched the 'NHS pledge' which he describes as "a practical attempt to limit the damage" caused by the Government's health reforms.
In the Daily Mirror he writes: "Today I will set out how Labour will be the last line of defence in your community for the NHS - an NHS now coming under sustained attack from Mr Cameron and his duplicitous Tory-led Government.
"His re-organisation is already causing real harm: longer waits and chaos in A&E; operations and treatments restricted as the postcode lottery gets worse; nurses made redundant in their thousands."