Sir Keir Starmer has said the NHS must reform in order to survive and it has not gone down well with Diane Abbott.
His comments come as in December 2022, ambulance and A&E services posted their worst figures in recorded history.
One in a list of shocking statistics from December was that people who had heart attacks or strokes waited more than an hour and a half for an ambulance to arrive, on average – the longest ever by more than half an hour.
Asked if any reforms for the health service were off the table, Sir Keir told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme: “No, we want to look at all sorts of reform.”
“The reason I want to reform the health service is because I want to preserve it. I think if we don’t reform the health service we will be in managed decline,” he added.
“It will always have to be free at the point of use, it of course should be a public service. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use effectively the private sector as well.”
Abbott tweeted: “When Keir Starmer talks about “reforming” the NHS he actually means a bigger role for the private sector.”
She also accused Starmer and Stretting of having a problem with GPs.
It comes after Dr Rachel Clarke wrote: “In a Telegraph interview @Keir_Starmer just dismissed GP triage of patients’ presentations as “bureaucratic nonsense”, suggesting we all self-refer to specialists if we notice an issue. This is so monumentally stupid (& insulting) on multiple levels I hardly know where to begin.”