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A FUTURE Labour government will provide an extra £8 billion in funding for social care to help “grossly underpaid” care workers, Jeremy Corbyn pledged today.
The Labour leader said the current social care budget was “insufficient” and he promised increased government support to deal with the growing social care crisis if he becomes prime minister.
During a visit to Milton Keynes University Hospital, where he toured the A&E and cancer wards and spoke to patients, Mr Corbyn said: “Care workers particularly are grossly underpaid, do a very important and responsible job and should be better recognised as part of our wider health service.”
He also addressed increased pressures on A&E staff, saying hospital workers he spoke to in Lincoln last week told him of treating patients in ambulances in hospital car parks when all the department’s bays were full.
Mr Corbyn said this was “an unbelievable waste of a very expensive resource — an ambulance that is parked when it should be out collecting the next patient.”
“There are nurses in some places who have spent the whole of their shift in the hospital car park,” he added.
Mr Corbyn said that social care and mental health services were the key concerns for the NHS, but they were still “inadequately provided for and funded across the country.”
Unison national officer Matt Egan said: “The social care system has been in crisis for years. We need urgent action now to save it.
“Care workers must be paid fairly, trained well and have enough time to provide proper support or too many people will go without dignified care.
“Politicians must find long-term solutions, so care staff aren’t overstretched and vulnerable people get the support they need.”
In the Commons, MPs from the three largest parties called on the government to reallocate funds so that hospital car parking charges can be scrapped.
Tory MP Robert Halfon said CLIC Sargent, a cancer charity for children, had found families paid an average of £37 in car parking charges every month — with some paying up to £10 per day.
Labour’s Jim Cunningham pointed out that many of the hospital charges form part of private finance initiative projects.
He said: “The minister responsible should now be looking at this with a view to eliminating those charges, because you could argue it's a tax on illness.”
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