A “new arm of the NHS” in the form of 5,000 “homecare workers” would be created by Labour were the party to win the general election.
Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham and Labour leader Ed Miliband are today unveiling the Labour Party’s 10-year plan for the NHS and have said the homecare workers would focus on “those with the greatest needs, including the terminally ill so they can stay with their family at the end of life, and those who are leaving hospital who need extra help if they are to move back into their homes”.
There is as yet no detail on the training and qualifications these employees would have, what kinds of organisations would employ them, or how much they would be paid.
Labour has pledged to pay for these new employees with a previously announced mansion tax, a levy on tobacco firms and a crackdown on tax avoidance.
The party also confirmed its commitment to recruit 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs and nurses, which will, it says, create an NHS that has “time to care”.
The 10 year plan will also bring in “tougher controls on hospitals increasing their focus on private patients to ensure they always put NHS patients first”.
“We can only join up the services when we have the right values at the heart of our NHS”
Speaking to reporters yesterday ahead of today’s launch, Mr Miliband said: “What people most want for the health service is a sense of a plan, of a vision of the future.”
In his speech today he is expected to say: “We can only join up the services when we have the right values at the heart of our NHS: care, compassion and cooperation, not competition, fragmentation and privatisation. These aren’t the values of our National Health Service. These aren’t the values of the Labour Party. These aren’t the values of the British people.”
“If social care in England is allowed to collapse, it will drag down the rest of the NHS”
Labour has previously pledged to repeal parts of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, in which the controversial section three made many existing NHS rules on competition statutorily enforceable.
Today in his speech Mr Burnham is also set to repeat his desire to reorder the priorities of the service and is expected to say: “Our aspiration is to create a service that supports people with dementia, autism and mental ill health as well as it treats cancer.”
Mr Burnham is also expected to say: “If social care in England is allowed to collapse, it will drag down the rest of the NHS. [It] is a root cause of the crisis in [accident and emergency]. For the want of spending a few pounds in people’s homes on decent home care, we are spending thousands of pounds keeping older people in hospital, even when they are able to leave. The increasing hospitalisation of older people is no vision for the ageing society.”