General election manifestos – what is the Labour Party saying about health and social care?

The Labour Party launched its manifesto It’s Time For Real Change on 21 November. It’s based around: 

  • A Green Industrial Revolution 
  • Rebuild Our Public Services 
  • Tackle Poverty and Inequality 
  • The Final Say on Brexit 
  • A New Internationalism 

The Labour Party plans for health and social care include: 

  • an increase expenditure across the health sector by an average 4.3% a year 
  • repeal of the Health and Social Care Act and reinstatement of the responsibilities of the Secretary of State to provide a comprehensive and universal healthcare system, with an end to the requirement for health services to be put out to tender
  • completion of confirmed hospital rebuilds and more investment in primary care settings, modern AI, cyber technology and state-of-the-art medical equipment, including more MRI and CT scanners. 
  • mandatory standards for NHS in-patient food and free hospital parking for patients, staff and visitors 
  • New mothers can have access to breastfeeding support and there will be mental health assessments in a maternal health check six weeks after birth 
  • free annual NHS dental check-ups. 
  • as part of the commitment to universal healthcare, it will ensure services are made accessible to BAME, LGBT+ and disabled patients

The manifesto includes a commitment to stop private sector delivery as part of integration, replacing it with integration through public bodies

A greater proportion of funding will be allocated to closer-to-home services building interdisciplinary, patient-focused services across primary care, mental health and social care. 

There is a commitment to expand GP training places to provide resources for 27 million more appointments each year 

£1.6 billion a year will be provided to ensure new standards for mental health, ensuring access to treatments is on a par with that for physical health conditions and £2 billion will be allocated to modernise hospital facilities and end the use of inappropriate, out-of-area placements 

There will be improvements to treatment for eating disorders and to IAPT services, and the provision of 24/7 crisis services. In addition, there is a proposal to establish a network of open access mental health hubs to enable more children to access mental health services. 

There is a commitment to reducing health inequalities including an increase in health visitors and school nurses. Previously-announced proposals to extend the sugar tax to milk drinks and a ban on fast food outlets near schools are confirmed. 

The manifesto includes proposals to roll out PrEP to tackle HIV, and programmes to reduce alcohol and tobacco consumption. 

Several proposals refer to medicines, including the establishment of a generic drug company. The prescription of clinically-appropriate cannabis medication will be progressed, and prescription charges will be abolished in England. 

The Labour Party commits to a National Care Service for England. It will provide community-based, person-centred support, underpinned by the principles of ethical care and independent living – and this will include free personal care. There will be a lifetime cap on personal contributions to care costs

Labour plans to invest in social care, ending 15-minute care visits and providing care workers with paid travel time, access to training and an option to choose regular hours. 


Bren McGowan- Healthwatch Workplace, Nov 2019 

Senior Policy Advisor at Healthwatch England 


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