Labour activists took part in more than 500 campaigning events today as the party sought to shift public focus on to the NHS.
The “care for the NHS” campaign was fired into life this morning when Jeremy Corbyn and Jon Ashworth launched a poster designed to highlight Tory failures on the health service.
The Labour leader demanded extra cash at the end of a week when Philip Hammond failed to mention the NHS in his Autumn Statement.
In what was Labour’s largest ever campaign day, outside a general election, activists took part in 541 events around the country.
The NHS campaign will be a priority over the winter and sources said the leadership would try to define Theresa May’s government as no different to that of David Cameron. Labour will also distribute around a million leaflets as it seeks to use its huge membership as a campaigning force.
Corbyn today told members the NHS was under-funded – despite the Tories’ claim to have given health service an extra £8bn by 2020/21 – and warned that patients are facing longer waiting times as well as staff shortages in hospitals.
“Labour will stand up for the NHS. We will always make sure the NHS has the funding it needs and will join up services from home to hospital with a properly integrated health and social care service.
“Labour created the NHS to care for us all, now it’s time to care for the NHS,” Corbyn said.
Ashworth said: “It’s jaw dropping that when the NHS is facing the biggest financial squeeze in its history – when waiting lists are at four million, when A&Es are in crisis – that the Autumn Statement contained not a single penny piece of extra investment for social care and the NHS.
“Instead the Conservatives have ignored the chorus of voices pleading for them to address the mess they’ve created in social care with cuts to budgets of £4.5 billion. The crisis in social care is such that thousands more older and disabled people face being left without access to services.”