NHS managers slated by Tories and Lib Dems in Leaders' Debate

NHS managers are overpaid and there should be fewer of them, according to David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

(Left to right) David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown
(Left to right) David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown

Speaking during Thursday night's historic Leaders' Debate on ITV ahead of next month's general election, Conservative leader Mr Cameron mentioned managers earning £250,000 and asked: ‘How is a 7% pay rise for NHS managers essential for economic growth?'

Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg said it was wrong to employ 5,000 more NHS managers last year and waste £12bn on computers that do not work, yet close facilities such as maternity wards and A&Es.

Labour leader Gordon Brown was the only one to mention GPs directly, promising GP availability in the evenings and at weekends.

Mr Brown mentioned Labour's commitment to recruiting more nurses (80,000) and doctors (30,000) although it was cancer care that divided Labour and the Tories. Mr Brown reiterated Labour's commitment to quicker treatment for cancer patients, while Mr Cameron pledged better access to cancer drugs.

Meanwhile, Mr Clegg, thought by many to be the big winner of the debate, said: ‘The easy answer to the NHS question is to say how much you love it. The difficult question to answer is how are we going to protect the NHS when money is tight?'

He added that the Lib Dems would scrap strategic health authorities.

Editor's blog: 10 minutes to debate health: how did they do?

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