What has the Labour Party pledged about the NHS ahead of the general election?
What are key pledges made so far by this party on NHS?
Nursing Times has analysed the pre-election speeches and policy announcements of the main parties ahead of the election on 7 May.
Read below to find out what Labour have said about health and the NHS, and then compare it with the other parties in the special election section of our website.
What are key pledges have grabbed the headlines?
Labour has pledged to repeal the Conservative’s “terrible” Health and Social Care Act, the legislation that led to the restructuring of the NHS, with primary care trusts and strategic health authorities disbanded, while clinical commissioning groups were created.
Party leader Ed Milliband has promised that under a Labour government there will be a new “double-lock” to protect the NHS, which will guarantee proper funding and stop privatisation.
The party has also committed to integrating health and care services into a “seamless system of ‘whole-person care’ ”, coordinating physical, mental and social care through multi-disciplinary teams of workers.
In addition, a mandatory review of case notes for every death in hospital forms part of Labour’s plans to improve patient safety.
What has the party promised on workforce issues?
This was an early pledge. Labour has said it will use money released from its so-called mansion tax (see below) to pay for 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more doctors, 5,000 new care workers, and 3,000 more midwives.
Labour has said it will ensure every woman is guaranteed one-to-one care while giving birth. The pledge was revealed in its health manifesto – titled A Better Plan for the NHS, Health and Care – on 11 April.
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In the manifesto, the party acknowledged that the provision of extra staff will require “action on a range of fronts,” including increased numbers of training places, new targeted apprenticeship routes into training, better retention of existing staff, and encouraging more staff to return to practice.
In addition, it has claimed it will help staff raise concerns by laying out a “clear expectation that all NHS and care staff receive training in whistleblowing”.
What has the party promised on primary care access?
The party said it will ensure local GP surgeries can guarantee same-day consultations with a nurse or doctor, adding that appointments would be provided within 48 hours.
What has the party promised on mental health services?
The Labour health manifesto includes an ambition to increase “over time” the proportion of mental health funding spent on children, and also to “set out a strategy and timetable” to deliver a waiting-time standard of 28 days for access to talking therapies for both adults and children.
What has the party pledged to do for NHS finances?
Labour has claimed it will be able to provide more funding for the public sector from a variety of sources, including a “mansion tax” on properties worth over £2m, a levy on tobacco companies and the closure of tax loopholes exploited by hedge funds.
However, it has so far failed to commit to provide the full £8bn by 2020 that NHS leaders said they needed to run the health service in their five-year plan in the autumn – the Five-Year Forward View.
What does the party think about private sector involvement in NHS?
The central point of the party’s health policy so far, Labour has claimed it will scrap the current market framework for the NHS and “stop the tide of privatisation”.
To do this, it has said it will give NHS providers the advantage over independent when bidding for health service contracts and cap the level of profits that private companies can make from any NHS contracts they held.
“The NHS will be the preferred provider. And, for the first time, we will cap the profits that private health companies can make from our National Health Service. The standard rule will be a 5% cap,” said Mr Milliband in a speech on 27 March launching Labour’s general election campaign on the site of the 2012 London Olympics in Stratford.
“If the task of healthcare in the future is integrating services, bringing them together, the last thing we need is to fragment and privatise,” he said.
- This page will be updated during the election campaign, as more policies are announced