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Labour leak reveals more polices on health and social care

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Labour will “immediately” guarantee the right to remain for European Union staff working in the NHS and care sector, make it a criminal offence to attack health service staff and ban zero-hours contracts, says the party’s draft manifesto.

They are among a range of policy proposals contained within a draft version of the Labour election manifesto that has been leaked to two national newspapers and the BBC, but that had not been officially announced.

In another previously unseen pledge, the draft manifesto said Labour would increase health visitor and school nurse numbers – both of which have begun to fall dramatically recently. Health visitor numbers had reached a peak under the coalition, following a former Conservative election pledge.

Linked to this issue, the document also stated that the party would publish a child obesity strategy within the first three or four months of it taking office.

On mental health, which has been gaining ground recently as a policy topic, the draft manifesto said Labour would “ring-fence” mental health budgets and increase the proportion of them spent on support for children and young people.

The draft document, which is not due to be finalised for around another week, also confirmed pledges made earlier in the campaign on pay and staffing.

The document said Labour would “scrap” the NHS 1% pay rise cap, give “our NHS workers the pay they deserve”, and legislate to ensure safe staffing levels in the health service.

However, another previously trailed pledge to make car parking free for staff and patients at NHS hospitals, and probably other healthcare settings, appears to be absent from the draft document.

Meanwhile, affecting staff in the care sector, it would universally “ban” zero-hours contracts and ensure care workers were paid “travel time, given access to training and an option to choose regular hours”.

In addition, the party said it work provider £8bn in funding over the next parliament and work towards created a “National Care Service”.

On funding and overall management of the NHS, the draft manifesto promises a “properly resourced” health service.

It states that Labour would commit over £6bn additional funding for the NHS each year, the same amount as promised by the Liberal Democrats.

However, while the Lib Dems said they would raise the money through adding 1p onto income tax, Labour said it would do it be only increasing income tax for the highest 5% of earners.

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn

As previously announced, the party said it would halt the 44 sustainability and transformation plans that are being developed locally across England to boost efficiency and integration of services, but have run into controversy recently over suggestions that hospitals will close as a result.

Other pledges in the draft include guarantees to meet existing targets for accident and emergency treatment and waiting list duration.

The party would also ape current moves to provide more integrated models of care in community settings, incorporating primary care, social care and mental health.

In addition, patients with long-term condition would have the right to a specialised care plan and access to condition management education, and those requiring palliative care would be ensured “high quality, personalised care”.

The key headline polices on social and social care are listed below in a summary box, while the most relevant chapters are included in full below that. See the attached PDF at the bottom to read the leaked draft manifesto document itself.

 

Key Labour pledges on NHS and social care in draft manifesto

  • re-introduce bursaries and funding for health related degrees
  • immediately guarantee the rights of EU staff working in our health and care services
  • support NHS whistleblowers to make sure health service staff are able to speak up in
  • support of the best possible standards for patients
  • make it a criminal offence to attack NHS staff
  • scrap the NHS pay cap, put pay decisions back into the hands of the independent pay review body and give our NHS workers the pay they deserve
  • protect patients and legislate to ensure safe staffing levels in the NHS
  • ensure care workers are paid travel time, given access to training and an option to choose regular hours
  • review options to create a National Care Service
  • provide an additional £8bn over the lifetime of the next parliament for social care, including £1bn in the first year
  • ring-fence mental health budgets and ensure funding reaches the frontline
  • increase the proportion of mental health budgets spent on support for children and young people.
  • increase health visitor and school nurse numbers
  • publish a new childhood obesity strategy within the first hundred days
  • halt the NHS “sustainability and transformation plans”
  • invest in NHS, to give patients the modern, well resourced services
  • commit to over £6bn extra in annual funding through increasing income tax for the highest 5% of earners
  • guarantee access to treatment within 18 weeks
  • guarantee patients can be seen in A&E within four hours 
  • work towards a new model of community care which takes into account not only primary care but social care and mental health as well
  • increase funding to GP services to ensure patients can access the care they need
  • ensure everyone with a long-term condition the right to a specialised care plan, and access to condition management education
  • ensure high quality, personalised care for people approaching the end of their life

 

Key chapters on NHS and social care in draft manifesto

 

Healthcare for all

NHS

In 1945, in the aftermath of war and national bankruptcy, it was a Labour government that found the resources to create a National Health Service – our proudest achievement, providing universal healthcare for all on the basis of need, free at the point of use.

Labour will invest in our NHS, to give patients the modern, well resourced services they need for the 21st Century. Labour will ensure that NHS patients get the world class quality of care they need, and that staff are able to deliver the standards which patients expect.

We will guarantee and uphold the standards of service to which patients are legally entitled under the NHS Constitution. By guaranteeing access to treatment within 18 weeks we will take one million people off NHS waiting lists by the end of the Parliament. We will guarantee patients can be seen in A&E within four hours and help another million people each year. By properly resourcing the NHS, Labour will stop the routine breach of safe levels of bed occupancy and we will end the scandal of mixed sex wards. We will deliver the Cancer Strategy for England in full by 2020, helping 2.5 million people living with cancer. And by properly resourcing ambulance services we will end the scandal of slowing ambulance response times.

Labour will focus resources on community services to deliver care closer to home and deliver a truly 21st Century health system. We will work towards a new model of community care which takes into account not only primary care but social care and mental health as well. We will increase funding to GP services to ensure patients can access the care they need. And we will halt pharmacy closures and review provision to ensure all patients have access to pharmacy services, particularly in deprived or remote communities.

Labour will tackle the growing problem of rationing of services and medicines across England, taking action to address postcode lotteries and making sure that the quality of care you receive does not depend on which part of the country you live in. We will ensure that NHS patients get fast access to the most effective new drugs and treatments. We will insist on value for money agreements with pharmaceutical companies to ensure NHS patients get fast access to new medicines.

To make sure that autistic people are able to access the whole of their community and end social isolation Labour will set the ambition of making the UK autism-friendly. We will ensure that everyone with a long-term condition, such as those with diabetes, will have the right to a specialised care plan, and access to condition management education. We will ensure high quality, personalised care for people approaching the end of their life, wherever and whenever they need it.

 

Public health

For our health and care services to be sustainable in the long term we need a renewed commitment to keeping people fit and well. Labour will focus our efforts on children’s health, protecting the wellbeing of the nation for the decades to come.

Labour will invest in children’s health, bringing in a new Government ambition for Britain’s children to be the healthiest in the world. We will fight health inequalities to break the scandalous link between child ill health and poverty. We will introduce a new Index of Child Health to measure progress against international standards and report annually against four key indicators: obesity, dental health, under 5s and mental health. We will set up a new £250m Children’s Health Fund to support our ambitions. As part of a drive on health prevention Labour will increase health visitor and school nurse numbers.

We will publish a new childhood obesity strategy within the first hundred days, with proposals on advertising and food labelling. We will make a concerted effort towards addressing poor childhood oral health in England. We will implement a strategy for the children of alcoholics based on recommendations drawn up by independent experts.

Labour will implement a Tobacco Control Plan, focussing on issues of mental health and children smokers, along with groups in society, such focussing on issues of mental health and children smokers, along with groups in society, such as BAME and LGBT communities, with high prevalence of the use of tobacco products.

Loneliness is an increasing problem for our society, and as Jo Cox put it, “young or old, loneliness doesn’t discriminate”. A Labour government will create a more equal society for the many by working with communities, civil society and business to reduce loneliness.

Labour will address historic public health injustices. We will hold a public enquiry into contaminated blood. We will hold a public inquiry into medicines, medical devices and medical products licensing and regulation, including Valproate.

A Labour Government would maintain our commitment to improve sexual health services, especially HIV services which will include reducing the rates of undiagnosed and late-diagnosed HIV, ending the stigma of HIV in society, and promoting the increased availability of testing and treatment.

 

NHS staff

To guarantee the best possible services for patients Labour will invest in our health and care workforce. A Labour government will step in with a long term workforce plan for our health service which gives staff the support they need to do the best for their patients.

Labour will scrap the NHS pay cap, put pay decisions back into the hands of the independent pay review body and give our NHS workers the pay they deserve. Labour will protect patients and legislate to ensure safe staffing levels in the NHS.

Labour’s long term ambition is for our health system to have the best trained staff in the world, ready to deal with whatever they face in the years to come. Labour will re-introduce bursaries and funding for health related degrees. Labour will support doctors to deliver the best care possible by investing in training, education and development of doctors throughout their careers.

Labour will immediately guarantee the rights of EU staff working in our health and care services. Labour will support NHS whistleblowers to make sure health service staff are able to speak up in support of the best possible standards for patients. Labour will make it a criminal offence to attack NHS staff.

 

NHS funding

Labour will commit to over £6 billion extra in annual funding through increasing income tax for the highest 5% of earners, by increasing tax on private medical insurance, and we will free up resources by halving the fees paid to management consultants.

Labour will give boost capital funding for the NHS, to ensure that patients are cared for in buildings and equipment which are fit for the 21st Century. And we will introduce a new OBR for Health body to oversee health spending and scrutinize how it is spent.

Labour will halt the NHS “Sustainability and Transformation Plans” which are looking at closing health services across England and ask local health groups to redraw the plans with a focus on patient need rather than available finances. We will create a new quality, safety and excellence regulator - to be called “NHS Excellence”.

The next Labour government will reverse privatisation of our NHS and return our health service into expert public control. Labour will repeal the Health & Social Care Act that puts profits before patients. We will reinstate the powers of the Secretary of State for Health to have overall responsibility for the NHS. We will introduce a new legal duty on the Secretary of State and on NHS

England to ensure that excess private profits are not made out of the NHS at the expense of patient care.

 

Towards a National Care Service

A Labour government will secure a financially sustainable future for social care. We will provide funding to deal with the immediate crisis and put in place the building blocks for a National Care Service to ensure dignity and care for all.

The Conservatives have left a social care system that is increasingly fragile and unfit for purpose. Despite rising demand, the Conservatives chose to cut council budgets, meaning £4.6 billion was cut from adult social care. There are now half a million fewer people getting publicly-funded care than in 2010 and 1.2 million older people have unmet care needs.

Care costs have escalated in nursing or residential care. Self-funders are now subsidising local authority funded residents by around 40%. One in ten people over 65 now face lifetime care costs of over £100,000. Much of the burden of care is now falling on unpaid family carers.

Labour will not stand by and leave the most vulnerable in our society to fend for themselves. To address the immediate funding crisis in social care we will provide an additional £8 billion over the lifetime of the next Parliament for social care, including £1 billion in the first year. This will stabilise the care sector and ensure providers can pay a real living wage without cutting the quality of care.

We will also drive up the quality of care by working with councils to end 15-minute care visits and to tackle the exploitation of staff on zero-hours contracts. We will ensure care workers are paid travel time, given access to training and an option to choose regular hours.

For too long, the contribution that unpaid carers make has been taken for granted. As a first step, Labour will increase the Carer’s Allowance for unpaid full-time carers to align the benefit with Jobseeker’s Allowance.

The challenges of our ageing population demand a bolder ambition for social care - a National Care Service rooted in the traditions of our National Health Service, providing high quality care for all.

In our first term, following public consultation and in partnership with providers and commissioners, we will review options to create a National Care Service fit to meet the demographic and societal challenges of our modern age. This will include consulting on options for sustainable funding to ensure funding is fair in its impact upon different generations, as well as between people with varying levels of wealth.

 

Mental Health

Mental ill health is the biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age. Around one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.

Yet, since 2010 mental health funding has been cut, the number of mental health nurses has fallen by 6,600, and remaining mental health budgets have been raided to plug holes elsewhere in the NHS.

Labour will work to reverse the damage to mental health services under this Tory government. In order to protect services, we will ring-fence mental health budgets and ensure funding reaches the frontline.

We will end the scandal of children being treated on adult mental health wards and stop people being sent across the country, away from their support networks, to secure the treatment they need by bringing forward the ending of out of area placements to 2019.

Labour will also bring an end to the neglect of children’s mental health. Half of people with mental health problems as adults present with symptoms by the age of 14. Yet, across England only 8% of mental health funding goes to services for children and young people. In recent years referrals to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have increased by two-thirds and the number of young people presenting to A&E units with psychiatric conditions has doubled. Suicide is now the most common cause of death for boys aged between five and nineteen.

Labour will invest in early intervention by increasing the proportion of mental health budgets spent on support for children and young people. We will ensure that access to a counselling service is available for all children in secondary schools.

Giving mental health the same priority as physical health means not only ensuring access to services, but also making improvement to those services. Choice is important in a modern NHS and patients who receive their therapy of choice have better outcomes. Labour will therefore ask NICE to evaluate the potential for increasing the range of evidence-based psychological therapies on offer.

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