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NHS becomes key battleground for rival parties

The NHS has become a key election battleground with a Conservatives pledge of an extra £8 billion a year for the NHS in England by 2020. Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have attacked the announcement as an "unfunded" spending commitment.

Meanwhile, Labour is pledging one-to-one midwife care for every woman during childbirth as it launches its health manifesto.

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Lib Dem health minister: 'The NHS needs hard cash'

The future of the NHS is a key battleground ahead of the general election. Credit: PA

Liberal Democrat health minister Norman Lamb has accused the Tories of "trying to pull the wool over the British public's eyes".

He added: "It's easy to say you want to support the NHS, the difficult part is saying how you will pay for it.

"As Nick Clegg said, the NHS doesn't need warm words, it needs hard cash.

"The Liberal Democrats are the only party who have committed to giving the NHS the £8 billion it needs and have set out how we will pay for it.

"Tory spending plans will not help the NHS but rather destroy vital public service and decimate basic entitlements."

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