NHS dominates political pledges with spending increases promised

The Labour Party is promising to spend more on the NHS in England than the Conservatives if it wins the upcoming General Election.

As part of its election campaigning, Jeremy Corbyn’s party has pledged a £26 billion real terms healthcare funding boost to provide safe quality care, recruit the thousands of staff needed, rebuild crumbling facilities and provide modern state of the art equipment.

This is over £6 billion in real terms more than the funding announced by the Tories last year, with Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell set to announce an annual average 4.3 per cent funding increase for health spending over the next four years, funded from Labour’s proposals to reverse corporation tax cuts and taxing the richest in society.

Deemed a healthcare ‘rescue plan’, it includes NHS capital expenditure rising to the international average, £1 billion a year training and education budgets and £1 billion more to fund a major expansion of public health services, as well as a focused drive on prevention measures to stop people getting sick as part of Labour’s mission to tackle health inequalities and prioritise children’s health and well-being.

Ashworth will say: “A decade of Tory underfunding and cuts has driven our NHS into year-round crisis. Over 15,000 beds have been cut, hospitals are crumbling and our NHS is chronically short of nurses and family doctors. Just last week we all were shocked by the heartbreaking image of an 88-year-old woman, left languishing for hours and hours on a trolley in a hospital corridor.

“With experts warning this winter is set to be one of the worst the truth is our NHS is crying out for a financial rescue plan to deliver real change for patients. 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 lists and hundreds of thousands who’ve waited on trolleys under the Tories – only Labour has a plan to rescue our NHS.”

However, the Conservatives have said that Labour's plan for a shorter working week would eat into the funding due to the need for more staff., with Health Secretary Matt Hancock having previously warned that the opposition’s working hours policy, announced at Labour's annual conference in September, would ‘cripple our economy and cost the NHS billions every year’.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents NHS managers, said the pledge represented a ‘significant extra investment" on top of what has been set by the government’, and, if used wisely, ‘would help to transform services and retain front-line staff’.

Event Diary

Following the 2017 Naylor Report into NHS estates, it has been estimated that estate upkeep costs have reached approximately £10bn in annual funding for 2019/2020.

More recently, ERIC (Estates Returns Information Collection) data collection has contained some deeply alarming news about the condition of NHS buildings and equipment.

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