JEREMY CORBYN pledged an extra £37 billion for the health service yesterday in Labour’s latest bid to tackle the Tory-driven NHS crisis.
The Labour leader told the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) conference in Liverpool that he understood why nurses have voted in a consultative ballot in favour of strikes over pay that would be the first in the union’s 100-year history.
Under a Tory-imposed publicsector pay cap of 1 per cent, nurses have suffered from a real-terms cut of 14 per cent, forcing many to consider leaving the profession.
Mr Corbyn said: “We will not put you in that position.
“We will lift the public-sector pay cap and hand back decisions on pay to an independent review body.”
And training bursaries would be reinstated if he becomes prime minister, he promised.
He said that Labour would deliver an additional £7.4bn a year for the NHS over the course of the next five-year parliament, including a total of £10bn in capital funding to modernise buildings and IT systems.
The waiting list for NHS treatments stood at 3.7 million at March 2017, compared to 2.4m at March 2010.
The cash injection would cut waiting lists by a million by 2022 and allow A&Es to hit their fourhour wait target, Mr Corbyn said.
“Our health service is being dismantled by stealth. Over the last seven years, our NHS has been driven into crisis after crisis,” he said.
Labour’s plans involve a target to tackle “bed-blocking” and a new guarantee that patients with the most urgent needs are seen within an hour at A&E departments.
The measures, being set out by Mr Corbyn and shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth, will see Labour commit to meeting the existing 18-week waiting list target and the fourhour A&E goal.
A £500m fund will help ensure the NHS avoids a winter crisis and 2.5m cancer patients will be helped by delivering in full the cancer strategy for England.
To tackle bed-blocking, Labour will develop a new target for delayed discharge of patients, ensuring 80 per cent of patients are released from hospital with an appropriate care package within a week of being deemed ready to go home.
Labour’s New Deal For NHS Patients will be funded by tax rises for the top 5 per cent of earners, with additional money from increases to corporation tax and a higher-rate insurance premium tax on private medical insurance.