The Labour Party has drawn up a detailed 10 year plan for the NHS based on the idea that if you empower people, and make care personal to each family, it is more likely to work for them and cost less for everyone. We have picked out some of their main policies on health including:
Restoring the right values: Labour promises to repeal the privatisation laws which are forcing the NHS to waste million on competition lawyers and tendering. They will bring forward a Bill in the first Queen’s Speech of the next Parliament to repeal the Heath and Social Care Act (2012). This Bill will
- Restore the Secretary of State’s duty to provide NHS services and so ensure proper democratic accountability;
- Replace the competition framework with an ‘NHS Preferred Provider’ framework, removing the role of Monitor and other bodies enforcing competition in the NHS and scrapping ‘Section 75’ regulations that made tendering statutory;
- Place tougher controls on NHS Trusts’ ability to earn Private Patient Income, to reduce conflicts of interest and ensure NHS patients are put first;
- Ensure the EU-US trade and investment agreement (TTIP) cannot impose procurement or competition obligations on the NHS;
- Extend freedom of information provisions to any provider of NHS services.
Investing in staff: Labour will ensure an extra £2.5 billion per year (on top of Conservative spending plans) to train, recruit and fund:-
- 20,000 more nurses (in and outside hospitals);
- 8,000 more GPs;
- 5,000 new homecare workers to work in integrated care teams to help people stay in their homes (particularly at the end of life); and
- 3,000 more midwives.
Supporting family carers by
- Placing a new duty on the NHS to identify family carers to ensure they can get the right support, including an annual health check;
- Ensuring that funding for carers’ breaks is ring-fenced;
- Consulting with employers and others on how to improve flexible working for those with caring responsibilities; and
- Abolishing the bedroom tax.
Giving patients new rights to access care: Labour promises to improve rights regarding access to care by
- Guaranteeing that patients can get a GP appointment within 48 hours (or on the same day if necessary);
- Give patients the right to book an appointment more than 48 hours ahead with the GP of their choice (important for those who have complex needs and need continuity of care);
- Setting out new rights to care at home;
- Providing a new right for talking therapies;
- A right to a personalised care plan developed with the patient or client and their family, tailored to personal circumstances and not restricted by service boundaries;
- The right for patients and the public to be involved from the start in designing and deciding on the reconfiguration of NHS organisations.
Integrating care from home to hospitals: Labour aims to integrate physical and mental health services with social care services, eventually establishing a single year-of-care budget for those with complex needs. They aim to do this by
- Developing a year-of-care tariff for those with complex needs (e.g. frail older people), which will cover all of a person’s care costs over a year. Over time, this type of payment system will be extended to other population groups;
- Addressing exploitation in the care sector by banning zero-hours contracts;
- Introducing a system of safety checks for vulnerable older people to identify and prevent problems before they occur;
- Consulting on how the ambulance service can be better integrated with 111 and GP out of hours services;
- Increase patients’ control and access to their health and care records and allow carers to access their records and communicate on-line to help patients stay at home longer.
Ending the neglect of mental health: Labour says it will
- prioritise investment in young people’s mental health;
- ensure all NHS staff and teachers are trained to spot problems;
- over time, will deliver a waiting- time standard of 28 days for access to talking therapies, for both adults and children;
- ensure that all children have access to school-based counselling or therapy if they need it.
Providing a new Cancer Strategy with the goal of being the best in Europe on cancer survival.
Preventing ill health: Labour will
- introduce new limits on the amount of sugar, fat and salt in food marketed to children,
- cut down on high-strength, low-cost alcohol products and
- guarantee all children a minimum of two hours P.E. per week
For full details of this 10 year plan see