A Labour government would halt pharmacy closures if elected, the party has said in a leaked draft 2017 election manifesto.
The manifesto, which the party has confirmed is a genuine draft, was leaked to the press, despite the party leaders only today (11 May) meeting to finalise it ahead of its planned launch.
It emphasised the need to ensure that pharmacy services are readily available to everyone, and highlighted the need for a more consistent standard of healthcare across the country.
The Conservative Party have called the plans set our in the leaked document a ‘shambles’ which would ‘unleash chaos’ on Britain.
Access to pharmacy
‘We will work towards a new model of community care which takes into account not only primary care but social care and mental health as well,’ the manifesto draft, published by The Spectator, says.
‘We will increase funding to GP services to ensure patients can access the care they need. And we will halt pharmacy closures and review provision to ensure all patients have access to pharmacy services, particularly in deprived or remote communities.
‘Labour will tackle the growing problem of rationing of services and medicines across England, taking action to address postcode lotteries and making sure that the quality of care you receive does not depend on which part of the country you live in.
‘We will ensure that NHS patients get fast access to the most effective new drugs and treatments. We will insist on value for money agreements with pharmaceutical companies to ensure NHS patients get fast access to new medicines.’
The manifesto also said that a Labour government would give more than £6bn extra in annual funding to the NHS. It would acheive this ‘by increasing income tax for the highest 5% of earners, by increasing tax on private medical insurance and by halving the fees paid to management consultants’, it said.
‘To address the immediate funding crisis in social care we will provide an additional £8 billion over the lifetime of the next parliament for social care, including £1 billion in the first year.
‘Labour will halt the NHS “Sustainability and Transformation Plans” which are looking at closing health services across England and ask local health groups to redraw the plans with a focus on patient need rather than available finances. We will create a new quality, safety and excellence regulator – to be called “NHS Excellence”,’ the draft says.
The party would also introduce a new Office for Budget Responsibility for Health to oversee health spending and scrutinize how it is spent.
The manifesto promised to reverse the privatisation of the NHS and repeal the Health & Social Care Act, which it says ‘puts profits before patients’.
Labour would reinstate the powers of the secretary of state for health to have overall responsibility for the NHS, it said, and would introduce a ‘new legal duty on the Secretary of State and on NHS England to ensure that excess private profits are not made out of the NHS at the expense of patient care’.
If elected, Labour would immediately guarantee the rights of EU staff working in health and care services; would support NHS whistleblowers to be able to speak up; and would make it a criminal offence to attack NHS staff, according to the manifesto.
A Conservative spokesperson said: ‘This is a total shambles. Jeremy Corbyn’s plans to unleash chaos on Britain have been revealed.
‘The commitments in this dossier will rack up tens of billions of extra borrowing for our families and will put Brexit negotiations at risk.
‘Jobs will be lost, families will be hit and our economic security damaged for a generation if Jeremy Corbyn and the coalition of chaos are ever let anywhere near the keys to Downing Street.’