Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the new NHS Mandate represented a "wish list" that was "dangerously at odds with the reality on the ground".
Responding to Jeremy Hunt's introduction of the contract in the Commons, Mr Burham cited fresh warnings from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), which said the NHS is "sleepwalking into a crisis".
According to the RCN, more than 30,000 NHS jobs are at risk of being cut. It said between May 2010 and July this year, the number of qualified nurses working for the health service was reduced by more than 6,000.
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met young people who have battled mental health issues on Saturday.
Former Chancellor Lord Geoffrey Howe was Margaret Thatcher's longest-serving Cabinet minister, also taking on the role of Foreign Secretary.
Lord Geoffrey Howe is known by many for his resignation speech which was seen as the catalyst which destroyed Margaret Thatcher.