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 that 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 next Parliament.
We will guarantee that patients can be seen in A&E within four hours. By properly resourcing the NHS, Labour will stop the routine breach of safe levels of bed occupancy, and we will end 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 services to provide care closer to home and deliver a truly 21st century health system. We will work towards a new model of community care that takes into account not only primary care but also social care and mental health. We will increase funding to GP services to ensure patients can access the care they need. And we will halt pharmacy cuts 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 all NHS patients get fast access to the most effective new drugs and treatments, and insist on value-for-money agreements with pharmaceutical companies.
To make sure that autistic people are able to access the whole of their community and to put an end to social isolation, Labour will set the ambition to make our country 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 highquality, personalised care for people approaching the end of their life, wherever and whenever they need it.
Labour will ensure that NHS England completes the trial programme to provide PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) as quickly as possible, and fully roll out the treatment to high-risk groups to help reduce HIV infection.
Labour will fund free parking in NHS England - for patients, staff and visitors – by increasing the tax on private medical insurance premiums.
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.
We will take action to significantly reduce infant deaths and to ensure all families who lose a baby receive appropriate bereavement support.
Labour will invest in children’s health, bringing in a new government ambition for our 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-fives and mental health. We will set up a new £250 million Children’s Health Fund to support our ambitions. As part of a preventative healthcare drive, Labour will increase the number of health visitors and school nurses
We will publish a new childhood obesity strategy within the first 100 days, with proposals on advertising and food labelling. We will make a concerted effort to address poor childhood oral health in England. Labour will implement the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, commonly known as the ‘sugar tax’.
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, focusing on issues of mental health and young smokers.
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 also hold a public inquiry into medicines, including Valproate, medical devices and medical products licensing and regulation.
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.
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 that 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 have to 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 the 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 an aggravated criminal offence to attack NHS staff.
Labour will commit to over £30 billion in extra funding over the next Parliament through increasing income tax for the highest 5 per cent of earners and by increasing tax on private medical insurance, and we will free up resources by halving the fees paid to management consultants.
Labour will boost capital funding for the NHS, to ensure that patients are cared for in buildings and using equipment that are fit for the 21st century. And we will introduce a new Office for Budget Responsibility for Health to oversee health spending and scrutinise how it is spent.
Labour will halt and review the NHS ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’, which are looking at closing health services across England, and ask local people to participate in the redrawing of 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 and Social Care Act that puts profits before patients, and make the NHS the preferred provider. 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.
We will invest in our NHS for world-class care
TOWARDS A NATIONAL CARE SERVICE
Our social care sector is in crisis, with severe consequences for the quality of care, public finances, personal assets, pressures on unpaid carers of family and friends, and delays to discharging patients from hospitals.
Care services have been slowly but relentlessly privatised. In recent years, one in ten people reaching the age of 65 have faced lifetime care costs of over £100,000, with some homeowners paying the entire value of their homes.
The Conservatives’ cuts have led to £4.6 billion lost from social care budgets, despite rising demand. Around 1.2 million older people have care needs that are going unmet. Care in the community has become a cover for unseen neglect.
In our first term, Labour will lay the foundations of a National Care Service for England.
Our first urgent task will be to address the immediate funding crisis. We will increase the social care budgets by a further £8 billion over the lifetime of the next Parliament, including an additional £1 billion for the first year. This will be enough for providers to pay a real living wage without cutting the quality of care they provide. It will allow implementation of the principles of the Ethical Care Charter, already adopted in 28 council areas, ending 15-minute care visits and providing care workers with paid travel time, access to training and an option to choose regular hours.
Labour will also increase the Carer’s Allowance for unpaid full-time carers to align the benefit with rates of the Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Short-term funding solutions will not address the fundamental long-term challenges of our ageing demographics, nor meet the growing demands arising from late-life illnesses.
The National Care Service will be built alongside the NHS, with a shared requirement for single commissioning, partnership arrangements, pooled budgets and joint working arrangements. We will build capacity to move quickly towards a joined-up service that will signpost users to all the appropriate services at the gateway through which they arrive.
In its first years, our service will require an additional £3 billion of public funds every year, enough to place a maximum limit on lifetime personal contributions to care costs, raise the asset threshold below which people are entitled to state support, and provide free end of life care. There are different ways the necessary monies can be raised. We will seek consensus on a cross-party basis about how it should be funded, with options including wealth taxes, an employer care contribution or a new social care levy.
Improving the quality of social care is a vital part of providing dignity in older age and independence and support for people who are vulnerable or have a disability or a mental health condition.
Labour will build a new National Care Service. We will also set out the funding alternatives clearly and honestly, seeking to implement change through consensus. Providing dignity and care in old age should transcend party politics and campaign slogans.
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 done to mental health services under this Tory government, which is particularly hitting services for LGBT and BAME communities.
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 per cent 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 19.
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 improvements, 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 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to evaluate the potential for increasing the range of evidence- based psychological therapies on offer.