To tackle the Tory NHS crisis, Ed Miliband has set out an NHS Rescue Plan for Labour’s first 100 days in office. This includes:
* Getting significant resources into the NHS immediately this year by including a mansion tax on properties over £2m, action on tax avoidance and a tobacco levy in our first Budget.
* Immediate action to tackle the Tory nursing crisis with an emergency recruitment drive in May to get 1,000 extra nurses into training this year
The NHS is in crisis. In the last 12 months, over a million people have waited more than four hours in A&E; one in four patients now wait a week or more for a GP appointment, or don’t get one at all; and more than half of nurses say their ward is dangerously understaffed and new figures today show one third of NHS Trusts were investigated last year over safe staffing.
Labour’s NHS Rescue Plan will start to turn this around in our first 100 days in office. We will:
1. Include the tobacco Levy, Mansion Tax and action to tackle tax avoidance in our first Budget, in order to raise new revenue in 2015/16 and to deliver the full £2.5 billion a year from 2016/17.
2. Launch an emergency recruitment round for nurses to get 1,000 more into training this year and further measures to increase numbers of nurses and other health professionals through incentives for staff to remain in, and return to, practice.
3. Kick start early planning to avoid a winter crisis in hospitals this year with GPs stationed in all A&E departments and more clinically-trained NHS 111 staff.
4. Introduce a Bill repealing the market framework of the Heath & Social Care Act to stop trusts being further destabilised or needlessly wasting resources because of compulsory competition laws.
5. Get councils, the NHS and charities working together identifying people at highest risk of hospital admission this winter so they can get the support they need to keep them healthy at home.
6. Tackle the £300 million scandal of vulnerable people being kept in hospital this year because they cannot get the care they need to be discharged.
This is part of Labour’s fully-funded plan to raise £2.5bn – over and above Tory plans – to invest in the NHS and recruit 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs.
This is in clear contrast to the Tories, who caused this NHS crisis in the first place:
* David Cameron is offering the British people a double deceit on NHS spending. The Tories’ extreme spending plans – doubling the pace of cuts next year – will put the NHS at risk. And despite their promises, they cannot say where a penny of extra spending will come from.
* The Tories have cut nurse training in this Parliament by 8,000 places and only this weekend we learned that far from increasing nurse numbers they have plans to cut 2,000 nurses after the election. There are fewer nurses per head of population than in 2010 and eight out of 10 NHS employers say they are experiencing nurse workforce supply shortages
The result is that patient care is suffering, while hospitals are forced to recruit from overseas and spend vast amounts on agency nurses.
* More than half of nurses say their ward is dangerously understaffed and new figures today show one third of NHS Trusts were investigated last year over safe staffing.
* Overseas nurses from the EEA now account for over one-in-four new nurse registrants (up from fewer than one-in-ten in 2010)
* There has been a 150 per cent increase in spending on agency nursing staff since 2012/13 with an estimated £980m spent on agency nursing staff in 2014/15 alone