Gov't accused of arrogance on NHS stats
The Government has been accused of arrogance over its decision not to publish NHS financial statistics until after the General Election.
The data, which will show the full scale of the deficit posted by trusts in England in the last financial year, had been scheduled to be published next Thursday – two weeks ahead of the election on June 8.
But according to reports, the figures will not be released as scheduled due to 'purdah rules', which ban the Government from making any kind of announcement about new or controversial initiatives or laws that could sway the outcome of the vote during an election campaign.
Pat McFadden, Labour's candidate for Wolverhampton South East, has hit out at the decision not to publish the figures on the scheduled date.
"With NHS finances under huge pressure the decision to withhold NHS financial statistics smacks of arrogance," he said.
"They are doing this because they think they can get away with it.
"It is a sign of how they will behave if they get a big majority on June 8. We cannot afford for the UK to become a one party Tory state."
The figures will be published by NHS Improvement, which predicted an end of a year deficit of £750-850m earlier this year.
However the figure is expected to exceed this.
NHS Improvement is understood to have made the decision not to publish the data ahead of the election after taking into account Cabinet Office guidance and a discussion with the Department for Health.
Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “The state of the NHS is the big issue of this election.
"We know waiting lists are getting higher and higher under this Government and many hospital trusts are struggling with their deficits.
“It’s a cover up to deny the public the true picture of the NHS. We demand full transparency so everyone knows the real state of the NHS when casting their vote.”
Norman Lamb, the Lib Dems health spokesperson, said it would be 'wrong to try and hide this vital information' until after the public go to the polls.
“The public deserves to know the scale of the financial crisis facing the NHS before they vote,” he added.
“The Conservatives are providing far less funding than independent experts have warned the NHS will need. The consequences will be dire for patients, with longer waits and lower standards of care."