NHS staff could become ‘the best trained staff in the world’ if Labour wins the general election, with investment and long-term plans promised in their leaked manifesto.
The draft manifesto, which had not yet been agreed upon officially, suggested a variety of policies in line with pleas put forward by healthcare staff and their organisations. This includes a scrapping of the 1% pay cap and the re-introduction of bursaries and funding for health-related degrees.
Read more: Labour promises pay rises and student bursaries for nurses
With doubts surrounding the future of NHS staff from the European Union, Labour’s manifesto promises they will ‘immediately guarantee the rights of EU staff’. Vast staffing shortages are anticipated over the next few years in projections by the Department of Health and the Health Foundation, as EU nurses leave the NHS over Brexit fears.
Read more: 'We cannot afford to lose them': Government called on to keep EU nurses
Labour’s draft document also promises to commit an extra £6 billion to NHS funding by increasing the income tax of the UK’s highest 5% of earners. They also promise reversals to privatisation and the creation of a ‘National Care Service’ to merge health and social care.
The document said: ‘In 1945, in the aftermath of war and national bankruptcy, it was a Labour government that found the resources to create a National Health Service – our proudest achievement, providing universal healthcare for all on the basis of need, free at the point of us.
‘Labour will invest in our NHS, to give patients the modern, well resourced services they need for the 21st Century. Labour will ensure that NHS patients get the world class quality of care they need, and that staff are able to deliver the standards which patients expect.’
Also on the campaign trail, Prime Minister Theresa May appeared on LBC radio and faced questions from NHS staff who said they were considering resigning due to understaffing and low moral.
Read more: PM blames 'complex reasons' for nurses using food banks
The Conservative leader was also criticised by Romeena, a doctor from Leeds, for her support of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, whose policies have been controversial in the health service, leading junior doctors to strike and nurses to consider similar action.
Read more: Thousands of nurses take part in poll on possible strikes
Mrs May said: ‘What I would say is Jeremy Hunt has done a very good job in saying to everyone what we need to focus on is the quality of care.’
As a type 1 diabetic, the Conservative leader also praised her experiences with healthcare on the NHS. She said there was ‘more work to do’ in helping so-called ‘just managing’ families with their living costs, but declined to comment on whether her party would propose a raise in VAT, income tax or national insurance for the next five years.
Voters will decide the results on the general election on 8 June.