UK Politics

PMQs: Cameron and Miliband clash over NHS 'crisis'

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Media captionDavid Cameron and Ed Miliband on NHS and A&E services

Prime Minister David Cameron has dismissed Labour leader Ed Miliband's claim that NHS accident and emergency services in England are in "crisis".

A&E targets had been "missed for 15 consecutive weeks", Mr Miliband said.

The opposition leader accused Mr Cameron of breaking his pledge that "I refuse to go back to the days when people wait for hours in A&E."

But Mr Cameron said waiting times in England had fallen and criticised Labour's handling of the NHS in Wales.

At the prime minister's weekly Commons question session, Mr Miliband asked whether there would be a "crisis" in the NHS this winter.

'Clueless'

Having received his response, the Labour MP commented: "The whole country will have heard that the prime minister can't guarantee that there won't be a crisis this winter in our A&E departments.

"That's because there already is a crisis.

"That's what the president of the Royal College says," Mr Miliband continued, "he says this, 'There are almost daily instances in most A&E departments of patients facing extended trolley waits.'

"The prime minister said two years ago, 'I refuse to go back to the days when people wait for hours in A&E.'

"He's broken that promise, hasn't he?"

The Mr Cameron was "complacent about the A&E crisis and clueless about what is actually happening in the NHS", Mr Milband added.

"What the British people know is the NHS is heading into winter with fewer nurses, a lack of senior A&E doctors and a shortage of beds.

"He promised he would protect the NHS but it's now clear the NHS isn't safe in his hands."

But Mr Cameron said: "A&E in this country is treating 1.2 million more patients now than under Labour and let me give him one simple fact - today in our A&Es the average waiting time is 50 minutes.

"When the shadow health secretary was sitting here as health secretary the average waiting time was over 70 minutes."

He added: "There are more A&E consultants working in A&E than there were five years ago.

"That is why we're meeting our targets in England and that is why Labour is missing its targets in Wales."

Oversight of the NHS in Wales is devolved to the Welsh government, which is led by Labour.

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