This article provides a summary of the policy pledges in the Labour Party’s manifesto that relate to health, care and wellbeing. You can read the manifesto in full through these links:
- Increase expenditure across the health sector by an average 4.3% a year. End patient charges, guarantee the standards of healthcare patients are entitled to receive from NHS England, invest in education for the health workforce and restore public health grants.
- Improve stroke, heart disease and cancer survival rates by providing earlier diagnosis and improved screening rates.
- Call a moratorium on bed cuts.
- End and reverse privatisation in the NHS in the next Parliament. Repeal the Health and Social Care Act and reinstate the responsibilities of the Secretary of State to provide a comprehensive and universal healthcare system. End the requirement on health authorities to put services out to competitive tender. Ensure services are delivered in-house and also bring subsidiary companies back in-house. Halt the fire sale of NHS land and assets.
- Publish an infrastructure plan to return NHS England to the international average level of capital investment and to ensure future decisions are transparent and balanced fairly between every region. Complete the confirmed hospital rebuilds and invest more in primary care settings, modern AI, cyber technology and state-of-the-art medical equipment, including more MRI and CT scanners.
- Ensure data protection for NHS and patient information, a highly valuable publicly funded resource that can be used for better diagnosis of conditions and for ground-breaking research. Ensure NHS data is not exploited by international technology and pharmaceutical corporations.
- Provide free annual NHS dental check-ups.
- Ensure women’s and children’s health services are comprehensive.
- Protect the rights of EU workers, other migrants and refugees and ensure all our services are made accessible to BAME, LGBT+ and disabled patients.
- End mixed-sex wards.
- Ensure our NHS becomes a net zero- carbon service with an NHS Forest of one million trees, more efficient heating and insulation systems, greater reliance on renewable energy, including more solar panelling and a transition to electric paramedic vehicles, NHS fleet cars and hybrid ambulances.
- Stop plans to further entrench the private sector delivery of health care under the cover of integration plans set out in the NHS Long Term Plan. Join up, integrate and co-ordinate care through public bodies. Develop a planned model of joined-up community care, enabling people to live longer lives in better health in their own homes.
- Ensure the voices of local people and NHS staff are heard in future
developments of the health system.
- Allocate a greater proportion of overall funding to close-to-home health services and build interdisciplinary, patient-focused services across primary care, mental health and social care. Ensure patients in deprived and remote communities will have better access to primary care services. Ensure those living with long-term conditions can access the care they need.
- Provide an additional £1.6 billion a year to ensure new standards for mental health are enshrined in the NHS constitution ensuring access to treatments is on a par with that
for physical health conditions.
- Invest £2 billion to modernise mental health hospital facilities and end the use of inappropriate, out-of-area placements.
- Implement in full the recommendations set out in the independent review of the Mental Health Act, so that people are given choice, autonomy and the treatment they need.
- Invest more in eating disorders services and ensure NICE guidelines on eating disorders are implemented.
- Improve access to psychological therapies to ensure they deliver the quality care patients deserve. Ensure provision of 24/7 crisis services.
- More than double the annual spending on children and adolescent mental health services.
- Establish a network of open access mental health hubs to enable more children to access mental health and recruit almost 3,500 qualified counsellors to guarantee every child access to school counsellors.
- Put safe staffing limits for all staff into law.
- Invest, train and develop NHS staff throughout their careers. Introduce a training bursary for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals. Remove the obstacles to ethical international recruitment.
- Review tax and pension changes to ensure that the workforce is fairly rewarded and that services are not adversely affected.
- Provide mental health support for staff and create a working environment within the NHS that is safe, flexible and free from harassment, bullying or violence.
- The NHS will be at the forefront of the development of genomics and cell therapies so that patients can benefit from new treatments for cancer and dementia, whilst ensuring the UK continues to lead in medical developments.
- Establish a generic drug company. If fair prices are rejected for patented drugs, use the Patents Act provisions, compulsory licences and research exemptions to secure access to generic versions, and aim to increase the number of pharmaceutical jobs in the UK.
- We will introduce mandatory standards for NHS in-patient food and will provide free hospital parking for patients, staff and visitors.
- Play an active role in the medical innovation model, ensuring rewards and incentives match the areas of greatest health need.
- Ensure that all parts of the NHS, the treatment of patients, the employment of staff and medicine pricing are all fully excluded and protected from any international trade deals.
- Progress clinically appropriate prescription of medical cannabis.
- Abolish prescription charges in England.
- Provide the necessary funding for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
- Build a comprehensive National Care Service for England. Provide community-based, person-centred support, underpinned by the principles of ethical care and independent living.
- Provide free personal care, beginning with investments to ensure that older people have their personal care needs met, with the ambition to extend this provision to all
- Develop eligibility criteria that ensures our service works for everyone, including people with complex conditions like dementia.
- Ensure no one ever again needs to face catastrophic care costs of more than £100,000 for the care they need in old age, with a lifetime cap on personal contributions to care costs.
- Invest in other social care packages and provide additional care packages to support both older people and working-age adults living independently in their own homes.
- Investments in social care services will more than double the number of people receiving publicly funded care packages, improve the standard of care provided to them and remove the distinction between health and care needs.
- The provision of additional care packages will support autistic people and people with
learning disabilities to move out from inappropriate inpatient hospital settings and provide support in their own homes.
- The National Care Service will work in partnership with the NHS.
- Contracts for providing care will not be awarded to organisations that do not pay their fair share of taxes and do not meet high standards of quality care. The focus will be on the ethical delivery of care that ensures growing public sector provision and providers
who meet standards of transparency, compliance and profit capping.
- Invest to end the social care crisis, end 15-minute care visits and provide care workers with paid travel time, access to training and an option to choose regular hours.
- Increase the Carer’s Allowance for unpaid full-time carers.
- Target a reduction in health inequalities with a comprehensive children’s health strategy. Introduce a Future Generations Well-being Act, enshrining health aims in all policies, and a new duty for NHS agencies to collaborate with directors of public health.
- Invest more than £1 billion in public health and recruit 4,500 more health visitors and school nurses. Increase mandated health visits, ensure new mothers can have access to breastfeeding support and introduce mental health assessments in a maternal health check six weeks after birth.
- Invest in children’s oral health, tackle childhood obesity and extend the sugar tax to milk drinks. Ban fast-food restaurants near schools and enforce stricter rules around the advertising of junk food and levels of salt in food.
- Take actions to significantly reduce infant deaths and ensure families who lose a baby receive appropriate bereavement support as well as protections at work.
- Urgently put in place a vaccination action plan to regain our measles-free status in WHO listings.
- Fully fund sexual health services and roll out PrEP medication.
- Address drug-related deaths, alcohol-related health problems and the adverse impacts of gambling as matters of public health, treated accordingly in expanded addiction support services. Alcoholic drinks will be labelled with clear health warnings. Review the evidence on minimum pricing.
- Implement a Tobacco Control Plan and fund smoking cessation services.
Parenthood and early years
- Reverse cuts to Sure Start and create a new service, Sure Start Plus, with enough centres to provide a genuinely universal service, available in all communities, focused on the under-2s.
- ‘Poverty-proof’ schools, introducing free school meals for all primary school children
- Launch a wholesale review of the care system, including kinship care, considering national standards such as a central register of foster parents and regulation of semi-supported housing, to ensure the needs of every child are met.
- Revolutionise parents’ rights by increasing paid maternity leave from nine to 12 months, doubling paternity leave to four weeks and extending pregnancy protection.
- Ban the dismissal of pregnant women without prior approval of the inspectorate.
Equalities and work
- Transform the workplace and require all large employers to have flexible working, including a menopause policy, and consider changes to sickness and absence practices.
- Create a safer society for women and prioritise domestic abuse as a health issue, introduce 10 days of paid leave for survivors of domestic abuse, and ensure women’s refuges receive the long-term sustainable funding they need.
- Champion the social model of disability throughout government. Through the new Department for Women and Equalities, ensure that disabled people can be independent and equal in society, with choice and control over their own lives.
- Transform the workplace for disabled people by requiring that all employers be trained to better support them, while introducing mandatory disability pay-gap reporting for companies with over 250 employees.
- End disability discrimination and update the Equality Act to introduce new specific duties including disability
- Recommend that the Equality and Human Rights Commission prepare a specific code of practice on reasonable adjustments to supplement existing codes. This will provide an appropriate balance between flexibility and clarity on how ‘reasonable’ cost is determined. The code will also set timescales for implementation of reasonable adjustments to end the long and distressing delays experienced by disabled workers.
- Reinstate the Access to Elected Office Fund to enable disabled people to run for elected office.
- Adopt a British Sign Language Act, giving BSL full legal recognition in law.
- Work with employers, trade unions and public services to improve awareness of neurodiversity in the workplace and in society.
- Put LGBT+ equality at the heart of government, ensuring our public services are LGBT+ inclusive and delivering on the national LGBT Action Plan.
- Tackle the homelessness and rough sleeping crisis in the UK, ensuring that all strategies and services are tailored to understand needs unique to LGBT+ homeless people, particularly young people who make up a disproportionate number of currently homeless people.
- Provide sufficient funding for schools to deliver mandatory LGBT+ inclusive relationships and sex education.
- Keep the right for workers to be represented and recover their costs in cases of employer negligence leading to injury at work. Review the eligibility criteria for the criminal injuries compensation scheme.
- Tackle the disproportionate levels of BAME children in custody, review the youth custody estate, strengthen youth courts and build on the Lammy Review.
- Create a new Department for Women and Equalities, with a full-time Secretary of State, responsible for ensuring all our policies and laws are equality-impact assessed in order to deliver a fairer society for women and all under-represented groups. Establish a modernised National Women’s Commission as an independent advisory body to contribute to a Labour government.
- Create a new ground for discrimination on the basis of socio-economic disadvantage.
- Eradicate in-work poverty by tackling the structural causes of poverty and inequality, such as low pay and high living costs.
- Strengthen protections for whistleblowers and rights against unfair dismissal for all workers, with extra protections for pregnant women, those going through the menopause and terminally ill workers.
- Give all workers the right to flexible working.
- Extend statutory maternity pay from nine to 12 months.
- Double paternity leave from two weeks to four and increasing statutory paternity pay.
- Introduce statutory bereavement leave, guaranteeing workers time off to grieve the loss of close family members or following miscarriage.
- Review family-friendly employment rights, including rights to respond to family emergencies.
- Require employers to devise and implement plans to eradicate the gender pay gap – and pay inequalities underpinned by race and/or disability – or face fines.
- Give statutory rights to equalities representatives.
- Set up a Royal Commission to bring health (including mental health) and safety legislation up to date.
- Ensure that public-facing workers are protected by toughening the law against abuse and violence.
- Reduce average full-time weekly working hours to 32 across the economy, with no
loss of pay, funded by productivity increases.
- Set up an independent Working Time Commission to advise on raising minimum holiday entitlements and reducing maximum weekly working time.
- Mandate bargaining councils to negotiate reductions in working time.
- Replace the Social Mobility Commission with a Social Justice Commission, based in the Treasury, with wide-ranging powers to hold governments to account.
Community, justice and discrimination
- Work to eliminate institutional biases against BAME communities.
- Establish a Royal Commission to develop a public health approach to substance misuse, focusing on harm reduction rather than criminalisation.
- Champion a joined-up approach, fostering close working relationships between criminal justice agencies with education authorities, health services and others by establishing violence-reduction units and ensuring vulnerable people get the support they need by boosting public health, mental health and early years services. Prison is not the best place to address the drug addictions, mental illnesses and debts that lead many people into crime.
- Build a properly funded, professionally staffed National Youth Service, and guarantee every young person has access to local, high-quality youth work.
- Local government
Introduce a ‘ruralproofing’ process so that all our laws, policies and programmes consider their impact on rural communities.
- Where local areas experience a sharp rise in demand for services, make council funding more reactive, and will work with councils to establish such a fund to meet changing circumstances.
- Rebuild early intervention services and replace the Troubled Families programme with a Stronger Families programme, refocused on long-term support to reduce the risk of children going into care.
Welfare and benefits
- Scrap Universal Credit. Immediately stop moving people onto it and design an alternative system. Implement an emergency package of reforms to mitigate some of the worst features of UC while the replacement system is developed.
- Scrap the benefit cap and the two child limit, and end the ‘rape clause’.
- End the digital barrier and offer telephone, face-to-face and outreach support to people who claim benefits. Recruit 5,000 additional advisors to deliver this.
- Scrap the bedroom tax and increasing the Local Housing Allowance
- Stop Work Capability and PIP Assessments, and make sure all assessments are done in-house.
- Increase Employment and Support Allowance by £30 per week for those in the work-related activity group.
- Raise the basic rate of support for children with disabilities to the level of Child Tax Credits.
- Ensure that severely disabled people without a formal carer receive extra support to enable them to meet the extra costs they inevitably face.
- Support those who look after others, increasing the Carer’s Allowance to the level of the Jobseeker’s Allowance.
- Help disabled people who want to work by bringing back specialist employment advisors, introducing a government-backed Reasonable Adjustments Passport scheme to help people move between jobs more easily, and reviewing support for disabled people at work, including the Access to Work scheme.
- Abandon plans to raise the State Pension Age, leaving it at 66.
- Create a new Department for Housing, make Homes England a more accountable national housing agency and put councils in the driving seat.
- Deliver a new social housebuilding programme of more than a million homes over a decade, with council housing at its heart. By the end of the Parliament, build at an annual rate of at least 150,000 council and social homes, with 100,000 of these built by councils for social rent,
- Scrap the definition of ‘affordable’, set as high as 80% of market rents, and replace it with a definition linked to local incomes.
- End rough sleeping within five years, with a national plan driven by a prime minister-led taskforce. Expand and upgrade hostels, turning them into places where people can turn their lives around. Make available 8,000 additional homes for people with a history of rough sleeping. Tackle the wider causes of homelessness, raising the Local Housing Allowance in line with the 30th percentile of local rents, and earmarking an additional £1 billion a year for councils’ homelessness services.
- Increase the funding available for cycling and walking. Bring together transport and land-use planning to create towns and cities in which walking and cycling are the best choice: safe, accessible, healthy, efficient, economical and pollution free.
- Help children’s health and well-being by ensuring street designs provide freedom for physically active outdoor play and by introducing measures to ensure the zones around our schools are safer, with cleaner air.
- Improve public transport, to help people to become less reliant on their cars, for our
better health, for a cleaner environment and to improve quality of life in our towns and cities.
- Adopt an ambitious Vision Zero approach to UK road safety, striving for zero deaths and serious injuries. Invest to make our neglected local roads, pavements and cycleways safer for the everyday journeys of both drivers and vulnerable road users.
Environment and food
- Introduce a new Clean Air Act, with a vehicle scrappage scheme and clean air zones, complying with World Health Organisation limits for fine particles and nitrous oxides.
- Maintain agricultural and rural structural funds but repurpose them to support environmental land management and sustainable methods of food production.
- Introduce A Right to Food. Ensure everyone has access to healthy, nutritious, sustainably produced food. Halve food bank usage within a year and remove the need for them altogether in three years. Establish a National Food Commission and review the Allotments Act. Make food security a reason to intervene in the economy and work with local councils to minimise food waste
- A £150 billion Social Transformation Fund to replace, upgrade and expand our schools, hospitals, care homes and council houses.
Published: 21st November, 2019
Source: The Patients Association
Story URL: https://www.patients-association.org.uk/blog/labour-party-manifesto