The British Medical Association is urging politicians to take on the NHS crisis in their pre-general election manifestos.

In a shock a move, Prime Minister Theresa May has announced that there will be a snap general election in the UK on June 8, to “secure the strong and stable leadership the country needs to see us through Brexit and beyond”.

However, BMA council chair has stressed that, with the NHS “at breaking point”, it must be “a central issue in the upcoming election”, and not “pushed to the margins in the focus on Brexit”.

He warned that “hospitals and GP surgeries are full and social care is on its knees, with staff working under impossible conditions,” and that “crippling funding and staffing shortages” are “undermining the delivery of safe care”. Added to which, there are “serious question marks over the future of thousands of EU citizens who are a vital part of the NHS”.

“Consecutive governments have been in denial about the state of the NHS and when it comes to elections have chosen to use it as a political football. Our health and social care systems can no longer cope without urgent action,” he said, calling on politicians to outline “credible and sustainable plans that will safeguard the future of the fully funded and supported NHS that staff want and patients deserve.”

Also commenting on the election, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said it is vital that patient care is kept at the forefront of debate over the coming weeks.

“Once the new government is formed, we will continue to press for the urgent delivery of all the pledges made in NHS England's GP Forward View - and for equivalent investment in GP services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

"Strong general practice means a stronger NHS, and regardless of the result in June, it is crucial that any future government delivers the investment and support that our family doctor service and our patients right across the UK so desperately need,” she stressed.

Meanwhile, representing pharma’s standpoint, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said it will be calling on all political parties “to pledge to create an NHS that delivers improved access to the new medicines our companies research, develop and manufacture.

“The new Government must be decisive in making sure the UK keeps its position as a location of choice for the global pharmaceutical industry."