Miliband: Tories 'out of touch' on NHS

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Ed Miliband has accused the Government of "putting ideology before people" as it embarks on a shake-up of the NHS.

The public anger that forced David Cameron to ditch plans to sell off the forests last week will be "as nothing" compared to the fury unleashed as the consequences of his plans for the health service become clear, the Labour leader predicted.

In a speech to Labour's Welsh conference in Llandudno, Mr Miliband said that after just nine months in power, the coalition Government already had "a record to be truly ashamed of", raising unemployment, slowing growth and destroying valued public amenities like libraries and children's centres.

Thursday's U-turn - which saw Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman apologise for the forest privatisation plans dumped after massive protests - was symptomatic of a government out of touch with the public.

"Why did they get themselves into the mess? Because these people are totally out of touch with what the British people value," Mr Miliband said.

Nowhere was this more true than in the case of the NHS, he added, where Health Secretary Andrew Lansley plans to hand almost 80 per cent of the English health budget to GPs to commission treatment and services from "any willing provider" - including private firms.

Mr Lansley's proposals "bear all the hallmarks of what people dislike most about this Government," Mr Miliband said. "Ideas developed without consultation, ideas that nobody wants, that nobody voted for and that put ideology before the institutions people care about.

"I warn David Cameron and the Government: the ill-feeling he created over the forests will be as nothing compared to the real anger that will build about his dangerous plans for the NHS."

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