The NHS is facing one of its toughest-ever financial challenges as it struggles with a growing and ageing population, and there have been warnings about a looming funding gap in years to come.
Labour says the extra money would:
Take one million people off waiting lists by guaranteeing treatment within 18 weeks
Set a new one-hour A&E target for the most urgent cases and guarantee no more than a four-hour wait for other patients
Set a new target to tackle “bed blocking” by patients waiting for care arrangements before they can be released from hospital
Cancer patients to be seen within four weeks
Mr Corbyn set out his party’s £37bn “new deal” for the NHS in England – to be spent over the course of the next Parliament – at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) conference.
Speaking in Liverpool, he said the health service was threatened by privatisation and another five years of a Conservative government would leave the NHS “cut back, broken up and plundered by private corporations”.
By political editor Laura Kuenssberg
For diehard Labour supporters there is just no question about who can look after the service.
And the party’s announcement today of an extra £37bn for the NHS in England over five years, roughly an extra 7% every year, is a traditional kind of commitment – billions more go in, Labour outflanking the Tories on public spending.
It’s not completely clear, however, how all of the £37bn would be spent. I asked the man who wants to be the health secretary in four weeks time, Jonathan Ashworth.
He outlined £10bn more for infrastructure, extra cash for patient care to get waiting lists back down, £500m for a winter crisis fund, an end to the public sector pay cap, and new targets too.
But while Labour has not yet detailed every single part of its plans, like mental health for example, he couldn’t therefore account for every penny of that huge extra sum he wants taxpayers to stump up for. Read more from Laura
Labour, he said, would put the NHS “back on its feet”.
He also promised to end the cap on NHS pay and appoint an independent body to decide future increases.
He also pledged to create a minister for mental health services as part of drive to deliver “parity of esteem” although for mental health services,
Labour said a “big chunk” of the £10bn infrastructure investment would be spent on upgrading the health service’s computers, to ensure no repeat of the cyber-attack that has hit dozens of NHS trusts.
It pointed to a National Audit Office report saying that in February the Department of Health had transferred £950m of its £4.6bn capital projects budget to meet day-to-day revenue costs.
The proposed £10bn infrastructure spend would come from the £250bn investment fund which Labour wants to borrow over ten years.
The remaining £27bn for day-to-day spending would go primarily towards reducing waiting lists, alleviating future “winter crises” and increasing staff pay by an as yet undetermined amount.
There will also be cash set aside for cuts to pharmacy budgets, investing in children’s health and protecting public health budgets.
The “lion’s share” of these pledges would be paid for by raising income tax for the highest 5% of earners, as well as corporation tax increases and raising tax on private medical insurance.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said they would be putting money in, but in return would expect “tougher targets” to be met.
“We’re asking those with broader shoulders to pay a little bit extra in in tax. And all that tax that’s earned from those tax changes for people earning £80,000 or more will go directly to the NHS,” he told BBC Breakfast.
The Conservatives said they would be putting an extra £10bn into the NHS by 2020-21, and dismissed Labour’s plans.
Lib Dem reaction
Mrs May said under a Conservative government the NHS had seen record funding. “You can only ensure we have a first-class NHS if we have a strong economy to have the funding to put into the NHS.
“We have a plan to build on our stronger economy, Labour would wreck the economy which would mean less money for the NHS.”