Parties should not use the NHS as “a political weapon” in the election campaign, health service bosses say.

NHS Providers chief Chris Hopson said “over dramatising NHS difficulties” or making “disingenuous” funding claims did the service “no favours”.

Mr Hopson acts for health trust leaders in England and urged politicians not to make “empty promises” or create “unrealistic expectations”.

The NHS is set to become a key battleground during the campaign.

Speaking to the BBC, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said a Labour government would seek to end privatised contracts in the NHS, arguing the public didn’t want money “being poured into the pockets of profiteers”.

Pushed on whether an incoming Labour government would see the eradication of all privatisation in the NHS, Mr McDonnell said “we’ll see how those [existing]

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