UK & World News
Government 'Has Lost Control Of The NHS'
A Conservative health minister is under fire after she was recorded chuckling and saying the Government no longer has any proper "day-to-day control" over the NHS.
Jane Ellison was taped telling a private meeting of the Tory Reform Group that providing political direction to the health service "is a bit like being on a high-wire without a (safety) net".
She said reforms driven through by former health secretary Andrew Lansley, which gave doctors operational control for the day-to-day running of services, meant the Government "pretty much gave away control of the NHS".
Her comments were seized upon by Labour, which accused ministers of "washing their hands of responsibility for our NHS".
Jamie Reed, the shadow health minister, told the Observer newspaper that patients in "full-to-bursting A&E departments" would not find the reforms as thrilling as Ms Ellison appeared to.
"Mr Lansley's NHS shake-up was a £3bn fiasco that nobody wanted and nobody voted for," he said.
"All it succeeded in doing was in increasing bureaucracy and driving costs up."
The changes pushed through by Mr Lansley handed GPs control over 80% of the £100bn-a-year NHS budget, with doctors split into groups to commission services, including from private companies.
A spokesman for the Department of Health told Sky News: "Giving operational control for the day-to-day running of services to doctors was the right decision but we've always been clear that ministers are responsible for the NHS.
"We're proud of its performance in challenging circumstances."