Responding to the publication of the Labour manifesto, Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive at the Health Foundation, said:
‘Labour’s funding plans provide a welcome recognition of the scale of the challenge facing the NHS. A 4.3% uplift to the health care budget would address growing demand and support plans for future transformation of the health service – a much needed boost following a decade of austerity. Plans to reverse £1bn of cuts to the public health grant are also welcome.
‘The manifesto acknowledges the huge threat that workforce shortages present to patient care, but further detail is needed to show how these promises will translate into urgently-needed doctors and nurses on the ground. More cash is no good without more people.
‘While stopping privatisation has become a hot topic in this election, it risks being a distraction from far bigger issues facing the NHS and patients. With waiting lists continuing to grow, the NHS relies on non-NHS providers to deliver patient care and does not have the staff or beds to absorb these services. A major reorganisation is not what the NHS needs and would not be a good use of valuable time and resources.
‘On social care, Labour have presented welcome proposals to provide free personal care for older people and to introduce a lifetime cap on social care costs. But more detail is needed on how the reforms would address the needs of working-age adults – who account for around half of the cost of adult social care – and on how the cap on care costs will work and be funded.
‘Beyond the NHS and social care, Labour have set out ambitions across other areas that if delivered, could enable more people to live healthy lives. This includes plans to boost early years services and restore local government funding to 2010 levels. There are also welcome commitments to end in-work poverty, reduce health inequalities and introduce a Future Generations Wellbeing Act to put long-term thinking about health at the heart of government. The clear challenge would be making this long list of ambitions a reality.’
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