A former Department of Health primary care adviser has blasted the lack of information around Labour’s pledge to fill the £8bn NHS shortfall.
Professor David Colin-Thome said the Liberal Democrats were the only party to promise the £8bn needed to fill the shortfall predicted by NHS England (NHSE) chief executive, Simon Stevens.
He said the £2bn and £2.5bn package offered by Labour and the Conservative party was “a start”.
He criticised Labour’s 10 year plan, released last week, for lacking “great detail” especially concerning expanding facilities for those with mental health issues and how they intend to transform care to a single pathway from home to hospital.
“Expanding facilities for mental health is spot on and we do need a lot more GPs. The way the health service is constructed with separation of hospitals and primary care, the amount of work going to hospital needs to be radically transformed. However that’s not covered in any great detail at all,” said Professor Colin-Thome.
A Labour spokesperson said: “The only way to make the NHS affordable and sustainable in the 21st century is to fully integrate it with social care as Labour plans to. In addition, we have committed an extra £2.5 billion a year over and above anything we inherit from the Tories.
“The Liberal Democrats have made entirely unfunded plans, - the very last thing the NHS needs right now - while David Cameron has failed to pledge the extra money the NHS needs in the next Parliament.”
Labour’s Time to Care Fund will be made up of £1.2bn raised from the mansion tax - tax on properties valued more than £2m - £1.1bn from tax avoidance measures and £150m from tobacco firm fees. When asked about the £8bn shortfall, Labour said efficiencies from NHS and social care integration totalling £4-6bn has been valued by Monitor.
“We know Ed Miliband says in private he needs to “weaponise” the NHS for political gain. But he has no economic plan, and so would bring back economic chaos to Britain – putting our NHS at risk,” said a Conservative spokesperson.
“Only by sticking to our long-term economic plan will we build a stronger economy, meaning a stronger NHS,” they said.
The Liberal Democrats were also contacted for comment.
Labour’s 10 year vision for the NHS setting out plans to invest in NHS staff, integrate care into a single pathway from home to hospital, focus on mental health was released last week, 27 January 2015.