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Clegg speaks out on NHS

21st January 2008

The leader of the Liberal Democrat party, Nick Clegg attacked management of the health service and described it as being in "great crisis".

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Mr Clegg said to the BBC that the Liberal Democrats would make sure that control of the health service was given "to local people".

The party said it would bring in locally elected health boards and the health service would pay for private treatment if NHS treatment was unavailable.

Mr Clegg told the Andrew Marr show: "It is one of the most unequal health services in the modern world."

"If you are going to give local communities more say over health services, they should also be able to vary, maybe raise extra money," he said.

He stated that a decade's worth of "unprecedented" spending and centralised management had made the NHS an unequal service.

Mr Clegg highlighted the difference between rich and poor wards. Giving Sheffield as an example, where he works as an MP, he mentioned the big difference in mortality rates.

He said that children born in poorer wards will die 14 years before those children living in more wealthy areas.

He said that the health service was not "providing equitable outcome". He added that the NHS was "failing those people who need it most."


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