Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May in NHS funding row

Media captionJeremy Corbyn and Theresa May make counter claims over party spending on heath services

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused the government of taking NHS to the “worst crisis in its history”.

He said the system in England was “failing” the elderly and four million people on waiting lists.

And, during Prime Minister’s Questions, he argued the policy of giving “parity of esteem” to mental health patients had ended up as “parity of failure”.

But Theresa May said more people were being treated, with doctor and nurse numbers up under the Conservatives.

She added that her party had sought to increase NHS spending, a guarantee she said Labour failed to match in its manifesto for the last general election.

‘On its knees’

During their weekly exchange in the House of Commons, Mr Corbyn told the prime minister that 40% of mental health trusts had had their budgets cut last year and that six trusts had had this for three years in a row.

Image caption

Theresa May said Labour was the party that cut health spending

He said: “I started by asking you about parity of esteem – all this government has produced is parity of failure.

“Failing mental health patients, failing elderly people who need social care, failing the four million on the NHS waiting list, failing five times as many people waiting more than four hours at A&E departments, and another winter crisis is looming.

“The Society for Acute Medicine, I believe, has it right when it says this funding crisis and the local government funding crisis is leaving the NHS on its knees.”

Mrs May told Mr Corbyn the government was investing £7.4bn in mental health services.

She said: “At every election, the Labour Party claims that the Conservatives will cut NHS spending; after every election we increase NHS spending.

“At every election Labour claims the Tories will privatise the NHS; at every election in government we have protected the NHS.

“There’s only one party that has cut funding for the NHS – the Labour Party in Wales.”

Mrs May added that, since the Conservatives had entered government in 2010, there were “more patients being treated, more calls to the ambulance service, more operations, more doctors, more nurses”, saying: “That’s what’s been happening in the NHS.”

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