Ed Miliband in Hackney’s Homerton Hospital today, “on a mission” to save the NHS

Leader of the opposition Ed Miliband came to Hackney for a whistlestop tour of the Homerton Hospital today, as he reassured worried doctors and nurses that it was not too late to save the NHS.

His visit today coincided with Prime Minister David Cameron’s “special summit” on the NHS bill – which excluded medical colleges and health practitioners which don’t back it.

The Prime Minister, who has taken personal responsibility for pushing the changes through which will give more power to GPs, made it clear today he believes it is too late to change course.

Miliband was shown around the A and E department and children’s ward at the hospital in Homerton Row, along with Shadow Secretary of State for Public Health, Andy Burnham.

They went on to address a packed meeting of doctors and nurses who expressed concern about the bill, which was also attended by Hackney MPs Diane Abbott and Meg Hillier.

“The decisions we have to take in the coming weeks are going to affect every patient, every doctor, and everyone who works in the NHS for years to come,” said Miliband.

“Today the Prime Minister is holding a Downing Street summit which is going on behind closed doors and excludes those from the medical profession who disagree with his Bill.

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“I have to say I think this bunker mentality is the wrong way to run the NHS.

“He should drop his bill and get round the table with everyone who cares about the future of the NHS, including those who work in the health service and other political parties.

“Because the question is not reform or no reform - it is what type of reform.”

Questions were taken from the crowd and a consultant, obstetrician and gynaecologist said: “Many of us will have heard they claimed to be putting the patient at the centre of the NHS, a lot of us fell for this.

“Now it’s clear it’s competition at the centre of the bill, rather than the patient, which will blow the NHS apart, everyone is panicking.

“Is it inevitable?” he asked the politicians.

“Time is running out for the NHS but it’s not too late,” replied Burnham.

Nancy Hallett, chief executive of the trust said it was “very heartening” to hear their views.

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