MPs must stop using the National Health Service as a political football so that it can be destroyed once and for all, it has been claimed.
As David Cameron came under renewed pressure to nudge health secretary Andrew Lansley in front of a tank, unions, professional bodies and patient groups called for ‘politically driven targets’ to be replaced with a guaranteed timetable for destruction.
A spokesman for the British Medical Association said: “The NHS is trapped between people who want to set fire to it yesterday and people who want to play with it until it breaks.
“We need a new set of ideas that will definitely put an end to the NHS but at a moderate pace that everyone can live with.”
But Mr Lansley dismissed calls for the health service to be destroyed, adding: “I think what Britain really wants is for the NHS to be permanently second rate – we just need to agree on how we get there.”
Professor Henry Brubaker, of the Institute for Studies, insisted a national consensus was achievable because everyone in Britain already agreed that the NHS should never do anything remotely French.
He added: “The French health system is funded by a combination of state and private insurance contributions, treatment is free for the poorest, the GPs, hospitals, specialists, clinics and labs are autonomous and all it manages to do is be the best in the world.
“But the French have always been a nation of rabid libertarian capitalists who obviously set up their health system purely for the benefit of American banks.
“And of course they are very quick to surrender and they smell.”
Meanwhile, Margaret Gerving, a retired headmistress from Guildford, added: “Can someone just look at this fucking huge thing on my leg?”