Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth said the move was “not good enough” and the government needed to “take action”.
“This situation is of the Tories’ own making and it’s about time they woke up and took action to get a grip on this crisis”, he said.
“The Tory government saying there will be no more funding for our NHS simply isn’t good enough.”
He called on Hunt to honour NHS promises made by the Leave campaign and in the Tory manifesto:
“What happened to the extra £350m a week we were promised by Boris Johnson and Liam Fox?”, he said.
“The NHS is in crisis with A&E and GP waiting times soaring, with 1 in 4 now having to wait a week or more to see their GP or not getting an appointment at all, and serious staff shortages being exacerbated by training places being cut and nurse bursaries scrapped.”
“The Tories promised during the last election they’d properly fund our NHS. This is yet another example of Tory broken promises.”
Chris Ham, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, said meeting demand was “impossible” with current NHS funds, and that Hunt’s approach “misses the point”:
“It is becoming clear that senior politicians do not yet fully understand the impact on patients of the huge pressures facing the NHS. The view from the top of government appears to be that the NHS has been given the extra money it asked for and should deliver what is expected of it”, he said.
“But this misses the point that demand for services is rising rapidly and the NHS is currently halfway through the most austere decade in its history.”
He warned that healthcare was at a “pivotal time” and that funding targets are being missed “all year round”.
“This reflects the impossible task of continuing to meet rising demand for services and maintain standards of care within current funding constraints”, he said.
The government’s claim that the NHS will receive an additional £10 billion by 2020 was criticised in a recent select committee report, which found some of of the cash would merely be shifted between areas of the heath service.
Yesterday the head of the body representing NHS trusts warned that the savings some areas had been told to find by 2021 were “so aggressive” that entire hospitals could also be closed.
First to be axed will be maternity wards and accident and emergency units, as part of 44 “sustainability and transformation plans” that will be submitted to NHS England this week.