NHS reforms 'give power to doctors'

David Cameron has defended the Government's record on the housing market and the NHS during a question-and-answer session with voters ahead of May's local elections.

During the half-hour event at a furniture factory in Derbyshire, the Prime Minister said the coalition's NHS reforms had put power into the hands of doctors rather than bureaucrats.

As well as insisting that the Government's economic policies were on the right track, Mr Cameron said progress was being made to ensure creditworthy home-buyers were able to secure mortgages.

Addressing the concerns of staff at luxury upholstery manufacturer Duresta's site in Long Eaton, Mr Cameron said the Government and Bank of England had stepped in to help those seeking mortgage funding.

Mr Cameron told more than 100 workers: "One of the best things we can do for your business is get the housing market moving. I don't want to see another housing boom, I don't want to see what we had in the past with mortgages more than 100% of the value of a house and just hoping inflation would take care of the rest.

"We don't want to go back to that but the truth is after the banking crisis in 2008 the pendulum swung too far the other way. The Government is stepping in now and the Bank of England is stepping in there too and we're making available funds, and making available deposits to first-time buyers."

Asked by one member of the audience what the Government planned to do in the near-term to improve the NHS, Mr Cameron said more could be done to improve the level of care.

Reform of the NHS since 2010 had stripped out bureaucracy and funding had not been cut, the Prime Minister said, adding: "We've made sure every year that it gets a little bit more money. We are putting the decision-making much more into the hands of the doctors rather than the bureaucrats.

"Here in the Midlands we did have a real shock with what happened at Stafford Hospital. You read that report and it was heart-breaking about how elderly and frail people were treated, and about how many lives were lost.

"There is a big row going on today, which is about the NHS and the future of nursing. We've said in the light of (the Stafford Hospital) report that nurses should spend some time when they are training as healthcare assistants in the hospital, really making sure that they are focused on the caring and the quality."