THE result of the next general election will be pivotal in deciding the future of the NHS, says Dave Watts.

The Labour MP for St Helens North accused the Government of wasting more than £3b on an overhaul of the NHS and said it has broken its promise made at the election that it would not introduce any reorganisation.

He said that changes to the system have led to longer GP appointments, longer waiting times in “overcrowded” hospitals and hospitals facing financial crises.

He said: “Hospitals and GP practices had been packaged up to prepare for full privatisation of the NHS if the Conservatives win the next election.

“We have seen our own hospitals experiencing financial crisis every year, which has left it with no idea how it can financially survive.

“I am also receiving more complaints about the longer A&E waiting times and from patients waiting more than a week for a GP appointment.

"Our hospitals and GPs are struggling to provide high quality services but our NHS is now desperate for a government which will end unnecessary and wasteful competition and will work with them to end the present crisis that has been caused by a botched reorganisation.”

Watts claimed that Labour would guarantee a GP appointment within 48 hours and would reverse changes that “have put profit and competition ahead of care".

He added: “The choice will be clear between a party that wants to privatise and destroy the NHS and a party that built the NHS and now wants to go on to build an integrated health and social care service.”

After Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, made similar remarks the Government accused Labour of playing politics and argued private sector involvement with the NHS had doubled in the last four years of the Labour Government.

A spokesman told the BBC its policies were about allowing doctors to make the "best clinical judgements for patients".

Labour criticisms about the plight of Whiston and St Helens hospitals' financial plight are often countered by those who claim the previous Government's policy of allowing private finance initiatives was the start of the problem.