The Green Party has said staff training and welfare would be central to its plans to improve the NHS, which include increasing the health service budget by £12bn.
In its election manifesto, launched yesterday, the party promised to put a stop to “privatisation” and place the “quality of the care” at the heart of the system.
As part of a pledge to “end NHS austerity”, the Greens claimed they would immediately increase the overall NHS budget by £12bn.
“We need a culture in which all staff are able to shape the system they work in”
The move would allow more spending on mental health and provide free dentistry, chiropody and prescriptions in England, according to the party’s manifesto.
The party would also commit to free social care for older people and free social care for the terminally ill.
Among its most controversial proposals, the Green Party said it would give people the right to an “assisted death”.
The policy would sit “within a rigorous framework of regulation and in the context of the availability of the highest level of palliative care”, said the manifesto.
In particular, the Greens highlighted the need to improve mental health services and “put an end to mental health’s Cinderella status”.
This would mean expanding the mental health workforce, along with key goals including ensuring swift access to treatment for those in crisis and investment in dementia services.
The manifesto also emphasised the need to expand primary and community health services to help prevent illness and wider measures to improve public health, such as tackling air pollution and subsidising the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Overall, the party promised to “restore a person-centred approach” to the NHS and said this would apply to staff as well as patients.
“The vast majority of NHS workers are highly committed, caring and careful individuals but current systems often put them under stress and prevent them doing the right thing,” stated a section of the manifesto written by former GP and Green Party health spokeswoman Dr Jillian Creasy.
“We need a culture in which all staff are able to shape the system they work in and to openly share learning from mistakes and ‘near misses’,” she wrote. “It should be a source of pride and joy, not fear and frustration, for those who work in it.”
The Green Party would “whole-heartedly” promote development and training of all staff and their involvement in improving services, said its manifesto.
It would also bring NHS pay back in line with inflation and negotiate improved conditions for staff among other measures, the party added.
Green party manifesto pledges on health:
- Increase NHS budget by £12bn and 1.2% annually after that
- Provide free dentistry, chiropody and prescriptions in England
- Provide free social care as well as healthcare for older people
- Provide free social care at the end of life
- Scrap the Health and Social Care Act and bring in an “NHS Reinstatement Bill”, which would restrict the role of private firms and stop the health secretary closing hospitals without proper public consultation
- Right to an assisted death
- Bring NHS pay back in line with inflation and negotiate improved conditions
- Increase spending on mental health and dementia services
- Increase proportion of NHS funding for primary care to 11% and consider increasing it further
- Treat drug addiction as a health problem rather than a crime, making drugs policy the responsibility of the Department of Health
- Review the regulation of drugs starting with cannabis
- Introduce a regime of “presumed consent” for organ donation
- Improve the ecological impact of health services such as setting targets on recycling for trusts
Find out which party has pledged what about nursing and the NHS on the Nursing Times’ special 2015 election web page