Speeches sourced from the Labour party’s online archive More…

Jamie Reed MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, said in response to reports that staff shortages have made the NHS 111 helpline unsafe at weekends:

"This serious warning about the failings of David Cameron's NHS helpline should be a real wakeup call. Patients calling in are not getting the help they need, and A&Es are having to take the strain. Action should follow immediately.

"Sadly, the Government has been warned before that NHS 111 is unsafe. But as usual, David Cameron and his health secretary chose to blame others instead of taking responsibility for their decisions. Cameron ignored warnings, including those from experts, earlier this year, about staff shortages and the use of medically untrained call handlers.

"The Government were told back in April, in a leaked NHS Easter Sit-rep report, reported in a Pulse magazine article that said: 'The independent body that represents CCGs, has called on NHS England to delay the rollout of the national phone number, after they said delays and abandoned phone calls had put patients at risk.' NHS Clinical Commissioners also said the ‘top down imposition’ of the rollout of the number had led to local commissioners’ worries being ignored.

"This is a major failure, caused by the policy decisions of this Government they can't ignore it any longer.

"It just goes to show that you can't trust David Cameron with the NHS."

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