Labour: Hunt treated Parliament with contempt over 999 changes and must now answer serious questions
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt approved plans to allow ambulances to take longer to reach seriously ill patients from January, leaked documents have revealed, but failed to disclose the measures to MPs when brought to Parliament by Labour.
Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham has today written (below) to Jeremy Hunt to demand immediate answers on the plans and ask why Parliament was treated with contempt three days after he signed the plans.
“The leaked document states that the proposals have not had the “full breadth of exposure normally expected”, shows the planning was limited to a narrow group and service directors were not consulted. It comes days after ambulance services around England asked for extra staff to cope with pressure this Christmas and growing number of cases where individuals have waited hours for vehicles to arrive.
Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said:
“Jeremy Hunt was dragged before Parliament last Thursday to answer questions on NHS winter planning but treated with contempt. It is outrageous that he decided to keep MPs and the public in the dark about a decision he had already taken and one which will have far-reaching implications across the NHS.
“Patients are already waiting hours on end for ambulances to arrive. People will struggle to understand how, in the middle of a crisis, it makes sense for the Government to make a panic decision to relax 999 standards and leave patients waiting even longer.
“This leak leaves Jeremy Hunt with extremely serious questions to answer. He must do so today. The NHS is in a dangerous position and crying out for leadership. Jeremy Hunt must start providing it or make way for someone else who will.
“Labour has been warning the Government all year about the growing crisis in A&E but it failed to act. David Cameron allowed A&E to sink into crisis by taking social care support from older people and making it harder to see your GP. It proves he can’t be trusted with the NHS. He must now accept his responsibility to turn it around.
“Labour will rescue the NHS with a £2.5 billion a year Time to Care fund – on top of Tory spending plans – to fund new staff, including 20,000 more nurses.”