Updated: Wednesday, 20th November 2019 @ 5:06pm

Miliband backs Labour's NHS veteran to heal Heywood and Middleton as Cameron 'sends health service backwards'

Miliband backs Labour's NHS veteran to heal Heywood and Middleton as Cameron 'sends health service backwards'

| By Josh Willacy

David Cameron poses a 'real risk to the future to the NHS', Ed Miliband has claimed.

The Labour leader lashed out at the Prime Minister over the National Health Service once again following the Prime Minister’s emotional party conference speech where he accused Labour of ‘spreading complete and utter lies’.

Mr Miliband spoke of his fears for the health service under Conservative rule and promised to deliver Heywood and Middleton a clean bill of health with candidate Liz McInnes ahead of next week’s by-election.

Mr Milliband told MM: “I’m not questioning David Cameron’s intention, I’m questioning the outcomes and in terms of the health service, it’s going backwards.

“I’d like him to defend his record and the risk quite frankly that he holds for the future of the NHS, because there is a risk from a future Conservative government.

“I don’t think they are addressing the funding needs of the health service, the investment required and I think they’ve got a terrible record on the NHS.”

Mr Miliband has pledged to put the future of the NHS front and centre of his Number 10 bid as he promised 3,000 more midwives, 5,000 more care workers, 8,000 more GPs and 20,000 more nurses if his party comes to power.

Following this, the Tory leader put his personal support for the NHS at the heart of his pitch for a second term in office at the party conference.

The Conservatives have announced a manifesto commitment to increase NHS spending each year, at least in line with inflation.

And after his son Ivan died in 2009, Mr Cameron insists that the future of the NHS has never been far from his thoughts.

He told party members: “From Labour, we’ve heard the same old rubbish about the Conservatives and the NHS, they are spreading complete and utters lies.

“This is personal, I am someone who has relied on the NHS and whose family knows more than most just how important it is.

“Who knows what it’s like when you go to hospital night after night with a sick child in your arms, knowing that when you get there, there will be people who love that child and care for that child just as it was their own.

“How dare they suggest that I would put that at risk for other people’s children.”

Mr Miliband was on-hand to support biochemist and Labour candidate in the by-election Mrs McInnes, who has worked in the NHS for 33 years.

At the rally in Middleton, Westminster hopeful Mrs McInnes slammed the current state of the NHS services provides to constituents.

She promised to ‘work hard, speak up and be a loud voice in Westminster’ when speaking to groups of supporters in the area. 

Labour candidate Liz McInnes told MM: “David Cameron seemed quite angry about the criticism from the NHS but I’ve worked in it for 33 years.

“I’m not against change and have worked against a background of change, but what’s happened under his watch is unprecedented and he has no mandate to do it.

“In 2010, he was saying that the NHS is safe with the Conservatives but I’ve seen services privatised, I’ve seen staff become very demoralised. Staff salaries have gone down since 2010, we’re taking home less now than we did four-and-half year ago.

“I’ve seen colleagues who can’t deal with the stress of the NHS anymore and have had to take early retirement.

“The consequences of all this has had a really detrimental effect on patient care. I’m not questioning David Cameron’s strength of feeling but I do think he has got it wrong on the NHS.

“He might be angry about being criticised but I know a lot of NHS staff who are equally unhappy about how they’ve been treated over the last four years – and that’s where the real anger is.”

The by-election in the constituency follows the death of MP Jim Dobbin, who held the seat in the Rochdale area for 17 years.

Next week’s result will be decisive for the Labour party and a failure to win what has always been a safe Labour seat would be an embarrassment ahead of the General Election next May.

Mr Miliband said: “I’m confident as we’ve an excellent candidate in Liz as someone who’s got over 30 years of experience in the health service, she is somebody who can make a real difference in this area, someone who’s getting a great response on the door step.

“That’s because she’s got a plan, a plan on the health service, a plan on minimum wage, a plan for things that matter to people in this constituency and plan for how we can make it better for them.”