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Labour Party manifesto: ‘Shifting resources to primary care’ and a ‘National Care Service’

Labour Party manifesto: ‘Shifting resources to primary care’ and a ‘National Care Service’
Labour leader Keir Starmer| Image: UK Parliament,. Released under Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence

The Labour Party has pledged to ‘shift resources to primary care’, trial ‘Neighbourhood Health Centres’ and create a ‘National Care Service’ in its 2024 election manifesto.

The trial, announced in the party’s manifesto launch today, aims to ‘bring together’ existing services such as district nurses, mental health specialists and GPs ‘under one roof.’

Part of Labour’s plan is to shift The National Health Service to be ‘a Neighbourhood Health Service,’ with more care to be delivered from within local communities, in order to ‘spot problems earlier’.

‘To achieve this, we must over time shift resources to primary care and community services,’ the party’s manifesto says.

The Labour Party has also committed to undertake ‘a programme of reform’ for social care to create a ‘National Care Service’ that will be ‘underpinned by national standards, delivering consistency of care across the country’.

The manifesto explains that services will be ‘locally delivered’ through a principle of ‘home first’ care which ‘supports people to live independently for as long as possible’.

Labour says it will also work across ‘employers, workers, trade unions and government’ to establish a Fair Pay Agreement for those working in adult social care.

Further, the party has committed to deliver an extra two million ‘NHS operations, scans and appointments’ every year, delivering 40,000 more appointments every week, with staff encouraged to carry out additional appointments out of hours.

Labour has promised to ‘ensure’ the publication of ‘regular, independent workforce planning, across health and social care,’ committing to ‘deliver’ the NHs long-term workforce plan.

Saying that ‘excellent primary care is the key to earlier diagnosis’, the manifesto includes a promise to ‘reform the system’, to ‘bring back the family doctor’ by incentivising GPs to ‘see the same patient,’ to better manage ongoing and complex conditions.

Responding to the manifesto launch, Acting RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive, Professor Nicola Ranger, said:The millions on waiting lists must be a priority for the next government and an expansion of appointments is desperately needed.

‘Nurses provide the majority of patient care and turning the service around urgently requires more of them.  

‘New investment and workforce planning will need to quickly go beyond asking current staff to work evenings and weekends. Clinical nurse leaders in the College can advise government on where that investment would be most effective and how to transform patient care.’

She described the current NHS Long Term Workforce Plan as ‘way off course’, adding that ‘greater reassurance is needed alongside a plan’ to retain NHS nursing staff.

Concluding: ‘Investing in social care is key to delivering care close to home and tackling the national emergency in our hospitals. Nursing staff delivering hands-on care in a National Care Service definitely deserve wages higher than £12 per hour. A fair pay agreement should help trade unions win better wages across the sector and root out exploitation. 

‘Workers’ rights have been under attack and the party is right to pledge to repeal anti-trade union legislation, including minimum service levels proposals aimed at stopping NHS staff speaking up for their patients.’ 


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