David Cameron and Ed Miliband clash over the NHS
David Cameron and Ed Miliband clashed over the NHS during Prime Minster's QuestionsBBC

The NHS was centre stage during Prime Minster's Questions as David Cameron and Ed Miliband attacked each other's record on the health service.

In what will likely be a theme in the build up to the 2015 general election, the prime minister pointed to Labour's record in Wales, where he claimed the NHS fared worse than in England because it was under Labour control.

Miliband shot back that the government had "broken every promise" it made on the NHS and using Wales was electioneering "propaganda".

During heated exchanges in the House of Commons, Cameron demanded his opposite apologise over the "disgraceful" comments he allegedly made to BBC political editor Nick Robinson that he would "weaponise" the NHS.

But Miliband derided the prime minister for the "ridiculous smokescreen", firing back that he was "running from his record on NHS" and that his mission is to "rescue the NHS from Tory government."

The debate kicked off against a backdrop of reports that the NHS was in a chaotic state.

Earlier in the day politicians clashed over what hospitals can call "major incidents". New guidelines for major incidents were issued by the West Midlands NHS region to hospitals, forcing NHS England to deny allegations they were designed to deter hospitals from declaring a major incident.

The news came after it emerged the target response time for the most urgent calls for ambulances in Labour-controlled Wales had sunk to the worst level on record.

The economy, another key election battleground, also featured, with Cameron pointing out that there are 600,000 fewer people in relative poverty and 1.75 million more people in work since the coalition came to power in 2010.

In another announcement, the prime minister confirmed there will be a commemorative service at St Paul's Cathedral on 13 March to mark the end of British troops' combat in Afghanistan.