We have analysed the funding that the three main parties have pledged for the NHS against what is needed to either maintain current standards of care in the face of rising demand, or improve services as outlined in the NHS long term plan for the health service.
The three main parties are offering different visions in terms of what the public can expect from the NHS over the coming parliament. Labour has promised a £25bn uplift to the health care budget by 2023/24, slightly above the funding needed to deliver improved services for patients. Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats £22bn uplift would see current standards maintained, while allowing for some improvements. The Conservatives have pledged £18bn extra by the end of the parliament, which is below the amount needed to maintain current standards of care.
For social care, there is a similar level of variation. All three parties have pledged some funding towards addressing the current crisis in social care and preventing further deterioration of services, over and above current plans for 2023/24. However, none have pledged enough to meet growing levels of demand and improve pay for social care staff. While all the parties have agreed in principle that there is an urgent need to reform social care to address the fundamental unfairness of the current system, only Labour has set out any concrete proposals for reform, pledging free personal care. But our calculations show that none of the parties have pledged enough funding to restore levels of access to 2010/11 levels, prior to cuts to services.
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