Responding to the publication of the Labour Party’s election manifesto, Chris Ham, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund said:
‘Labour’s manifesto outlines a positive vision for a 21st century health and care system based on much closer integration of health and social care. It also marks a decisive break with the policies of the recent past in its rejection of markets and competition.
‘It is hard to see how Labour’s plans to dismantle the Health and Social Care Act could be achieved without disruptive structural changes to the NHS. Proposals to bring services and budgets together at a local level are welcome, although we question whether health and wellbeing boards could play the leadership role envisaged.
‘The big question is about funding, with Labour now the only one of the three main parties not to have pledged to find the £8 billion a year in additional funding called for in the NHS five year forward view. Given this is the minimum requirement if the NHS is to continue to meet patient needs and maintain standards of care, this leaves a significant gap at the heart of its plans. Labour is also the only one of the main parties not to have endorsed the programme for change outlined in the Forward View.
‘Pledges to improve the quality of home care and implement the cap on the costs of social care first proposed by the Dilnot Commission are welcome. However, although a growing social care crisis is identified as one of the biggest challenges facing the next government, there is no commitment to increase social care funding.’