HSJ’s handy guide to Labour’s health policy development before the manifesto:
- Labour has made the privatisation of the NHS – and its desire to stop it – a central theme of its election campaign. Ed Miliband announced last month a Labour government would impose a profit cap on private providers of NHS “clinical services”. Labour has also pledged to repeal the Health and Social Care Act before the parliamentary summer recess and have a policy of NHS organisations being the “preferred provider” for NHS services..
- Mr Miliband’s major announcement at Labour’s party conference in September was an extra £2.5bn a year for the NHS. It would raise the money by introducing a mansion tax on properties over £2m, tackling tax avoidance by hedge funds, and a levy on tobacco companies. The “NHS Time To Care Fund” would provide cash for 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs, 5,000 more careworkers and 3,000 more midwives, Labour said. However, finance experts warned this would not be enough to keep the NHS sustainable.
- The health manifesto will build on the party’s 10 year plan for health and social care published in January.
- The 10 year blueprint for the NHS set out plans for health and wellbeing boards to be accountable for new ‘year of care budgets’ which would cover the health and social care needs of those ‘at the greatest risk of hospitalisation’.
- Mr Burnham said at the party’s September conference he wanted every “hospital organisation to grow into an integrated care organisation”, although he has not set out a firm timetable. He insisted local areas should move at a pace they are comfortable with.
- Labour has been dogged by suggestions that its 10 year plan will require a significant top down reorganisation of the NHS. Read our exclusive interview with Mr Miliband in which he insisted Labour’s plans will not mean a “top-down reorganisation”.
Other flagship NHS pledges made by Labour in the run up to the election include
- A guarantee no one waits more than a week for vital cancer tests.
- Labour’s GP guarantee: “an appointment within 48 hours for all who want one – an appointment on the same day for all who need one