The Labour Party has unveiled a plan that it says will “rescue the NHS”.
The plan aims to reduce waiting lists and increase access by ensuring 95% of patients are treated within 18 weeks, upgrading A&E performance and improving cancer survival rates.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell announced that funding for the NHS under a Labour government would rise by an average of 4.3% each of the next four years. The increase will amount to around £26bn yearly, funded by reversing corporation tax cuts and increasing taxes on the richest.
Under Labour’s plans, the NHS will receive over £6bn more in real terms each year compared to funding announced by the government. The boost would see NHS England’s budget pushing £155bn by 2023-24.
Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said:
“We are announcing today the levels of investment our NHS needs to not only again provide the quality care our sick and elderly deserve but secures the NHS for the future as well.
“We’ll invest more to prevent people becoming ill in the first place and we’ll give mental health and wellbeing a greater priority than ever before. This general election is about millions on waiting list and hundreds of thousands who’ve waited on trolleys under the Tories – only Labour has a plan to rescue our NHS.”
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Labour's 'rescue plan' for the NHS
To ensure quality care across both physical and mental health, Labour’s NHS Rescue Plan will mean:
- Increasing the total Department of Health and Social Care budget to £178bn in 2023-24 – an average annual increase of 4.3%
- Increasing the NHS England resource budget to £154.9 billion in 2023-24 to restore constitutional standards on waiting times and access, including ensuring 95 per cent of patients are treated within 18 weeks, improve A&E performance and radically improve cancer survival rates;
- This will mean a real-terms increase of £26bn for day-to-day NHS spending from 2018-19 to 2023-24 – the period over which the Conservatives have promised £20bn
- Guarantee a greater priority for mental health and wellbeing than ever before with an extra £1.6 billion NHS spending per year to fund counselling services for schools, community mental health hubs for young people, invest in community services for severe mental illness and ensure high quality liaison and 24/7 crisis care for people living with poor mental health;
- Free prescriptions and car parking, the costs of which are not included in these figures.
- Protecting the NHS from Boris Johnson’s sell-out Brexit deal with Donald Trump which risks funnelling £500 million per week out of the NHS to big drugs companies
To rebuild the NHS, Labour’s NHS Rescue Plan will:
- Increase NHS capital budgets by £15 billion over a Parliament to rebuild NHS hospitals and community facilities and clear the maintenance backlog, funded from Labour’s Social
- Transformation Fund;
Deliver a Green New Deal for our NHS so every trust can to reduce its carbon footprint can get it;
- Provide a new £2 billion strategic mental health infrastructure fund to abolish dormitory wards and make every inpatient setting safe for patients, invest in more beds to end out of area placements and roll out a fleet of crisis ambulances;
- Invest an extra £2.5 billion to overhaul the primary care estate so that GPs can deliver better local care in their communities;
- Provide an extra £1.5 billion to increase the numbers of CT and MRI scanners to the OECD average to radically improve diagnostic capacity and improve cancer outcomes;
- Invest further in digital, AI and to ensure transformation of services for the future.
For NHS staff Labour’s NHS Rescue Plan will:
- Invest £1 billion in restoring a training bursary for nurses and Continuing Professional Development to help recruit 24,000 extra nurses as well as extra midwives and allied health professionals;
- Expand GP training places to 5000 to create 27 million more appointments with family doctors;
- Invest in mental health support for NHS staff.
For Public Health Services Labour’s NHS Rescue Plan will:
- Deliver a £1 billion increase in the annual Public Health budget including an extra £100 million for addiction services, an extra £100 million for obesity services, an extra £100 million for public mental health services, £75 million for sexual health services, an extra £75 million for 0-5 services and more investment in smoking cessation services;
- Invest in the public health nurse workforce delivering an extra 4,800 health visitors and school nurses.