The King's Fund responds to the Labour party manifesto

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Commenting on the health and care aspects of the Labour party manifesto, Richard Murray, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, said:

‘Labour has pledged a comprehensive NHS funding offer, and they appear to be the only major English party willing to propose long-overdue reform of the ailing social care system. 

‘Free personal care and a cap on personal contributions to care costs won’t solve all the challenges facing social care services, but the policy would represent a significant step towards a fairer system and bring it more in line with an NHS that is free at the point of use. 

‘The Labour party’s intention to repeal the 2012 Health and Social Care Act would risk a damaging and distracting top-down reorganisation of the health service. This would divert NHS leaders’ attention away from improving services and could eat up the political capital needed to deliver other policy ambitions such as social care reform.

‘As with all the parties’ plans for the NHS and social care, the success of their policies rests on having enough staff to deliver services. Labour’s manifesto includes welcome measures to recruit more staff, but it lacks detail on how they would retain existing staff at a time when many are leaving their profession due to the intensity of their workloads. It is also unclear how their immigration policy will ensure much needed overseas health and care staff can still come to work in the UK.

‘Labour’s manifesto rightly recognises that our health is about more than the NHS and social care, and we welcome their pledge to assess the health impact of all government policies.’

Notes to editors

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The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.