Policies in this section only affect England unless specified.
The NHS needs to unify its services under one umbrella covering mental and physical health along with social care. This needs to be alongside modernisation to ensure the NHS is fit for the future.
Involve doctors and nurses in management decisions. Just like we wish to involve workers more in decision making we want to do the same thing with the NHS. When decisions are being made around areas like funding and management there needs to be workers there to discuss the changes.
Care for the elderly and disabled needs to be delivered at home when possible. Rather than elderly people having to travel from their homes to see a doctor if they prefer or need to see a doctor, they should be able to arrange for someone to come and visit them.
Focus on illness prevention. If an illness is treated early on, then it will cost less, so the NHS should focus on giving people treatment to prevent illness where possible.
- UK as a whole.
Allow the right to die. We believe that people who are terminally ill or ill to the extent where they are unable to be independent should have the choice to end their own life. While we prefer that people write in advance what circumstances they would take that choice in, if the patient is still of sound mind and is able to communicate then it should be allowed. For each case that goes through we will require a judge to approve each case.
A new NHS watchdog. An NHS watchdog would receive and deal with complaints from patients and NHS staff alongside inspecting hospitals to ensure they are up to a good standard. It would also identify areas where there are unnecessary staff or contractors and report these to the NHS to act on. Finally, there would be an accountability board to investigate failings within the system. The watchdog would absorb the Care Quality Commission, Healthwatch England, assessments of operational performance and financial sustainability of providers which is undertaken by NHS England and NHS Improvement alongside overseeing information governance and data protection which is currently undertaken by NHS bodies and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
All non-experimental treatments should be NICE-approved. The National Institute for health and Care Excellence or NICE should have a larger scope and budget so it can ensure that aside from experimental treatments offered under the cancer drugs fund/experimental drugs fund all NHS treatments are NICE approved.
- UK wide.
Update NHS patient record storage. The NHS uses the TPP System One, Microtest Evolution, EMIS Web and PS Vision for accessing patient data. This is a disjointed set of systems which need either cross compatibility or to be replaced by a single UK or England wide replacement. This would be through a fund for both NHS Digital and NHSX and could learn from how Scotland managed to move towards a single IT system and the Northern Ireland Electronic Care Record (NIECR).
- UK wide.
Legalise all drugs for medical use. All drugs would also be legal for prescribed medical use and medical research. We also support greater availability of prescriptions for medical cannabis.
Increase the availability of virtual NHS appointments. Virtual appointment should be available for hospital or GP appointments via a phone or video call. This was part of the NHS Long Term Plan but needs to be extended further with the option of an online appointment for wherever its practical to do so.
An NHS umbrella
Social care should be brought under the NHS umbrella. The UK’s social care system is currently disjointed, and we feel over time these services should be incorporated into the NHS umbrella. Services are currently provided by a mixture of local authorities such as councils, charities and the NHS. For existing services, we believe they should have the opportunity to become part of the NHS and the NHS should also cover any gaps with its own services. As part of this they would be under NHS pay scales.
There are a number of services we believe should eventually be under the NHS umbrella including; carers helping out at home with day to day issues, Social care which can also be care that enables you to remain active and can include things like transport, day centres which help people to meet up and sometimes gives people meals, adaptations for your home due to a condition you have and end of life care.
Care home costs also fall under social care. These can sometimes cost huge amounts of money and spaces are often in short supply so we will not only pay for care home costs but we will set up a government run care home service rather than relying on charities, businesses and local authorities to provide the service.
We believe that the focus of social care should be on long term happiness. Therefore, we support using dementia villages, music therapy, animal therapy, Meet and eats and Intergenerational care.
Mental health care should be brought under the NHS umbrella. This will place existing mental health care under the NHS umbrella and pay scales. This would both unify the services more and would allow mental health care to work better alongside other forms of health care.
Integrate CAMHS into the education system. We believe we must integrate mental health referral into state schools and universities. This would involve at least trained individual within each school or university campus. Integration should also be offered to private universities and schools. This will ensure schools and CAMHS can work closely together to ensure solutions for every child can be adapted into their educational environment.
Referral units for mental health within workplaces. Referral units will be implemented within workplaces of over 250 employees. This will be a structured system with a workplace mental health professional who is able to refer employees to appropriate support. These referral units would also include ordinary workers who are trained as pastoral care officers who will ensure individual plans for each worker is kept to and fitted to their work life. Finally, there would be a safeguarding officer to deal with breaches or issues in relation to treatment of employees.
Smaller businesses of less than 250 will have access to free government training for one staff member to act as a a referral officer, another to be safeguarding officer and a final safeguarding officer. As businesses increase in the number of employees, the amount of training the government will pay for will decrease until the business has 250 employees.
For businesses with less than three people the process would instead involve advice on how they can refer themselves to mental health services although this training should be of the same quality as larger businesses receive.
These services should be available to those contracting with the company or those who are on internships, apprenticeships or work experience.
Link st John Ambulance to the NHS more closely. We believe that groups like st John ambulance should be used to give people pre-NHS employment courses so it can be used as a way into working for the NHS. These will count when applying to work within the NHS or to do a health-related course in a college.
Create an NHS Air Ambulance. Just as there is a publicly funded air ambulance service in Scotland, we would create a new publicly funded air ambulance service in England and support one in Wales. This would incorporate any air ambulance services running through charitable donations that would like to be part of the program. This new program would work closely with the NHS ambulance service.
Increase funding for ‘back to nursing’ courses. While on the course, ex-nurses will be paid a full nurse’s salary and this will be used to encourage people to return to nursing. To receive full pay, nurses will need to sign up to work in the NHS for at least 6 months afterwards unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Increase pay for all NHS staff. We believe that NHS pay should be linked to inflation ensuring it always increases when prices go up. We also support NHS pay incentives being based fully on outcomes rather than activity as proposed by the IPPR.
Abolish all prescription charges. These are charges on prescription drugs that are given to patients. We believe that health care should be free in the UK and charging for prescriptions goes against this. These charges have already been dropped in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Improve hospital food to meet higher nutritional standards. This will be achieved by giving out fresh food when feasible and ensuring that hospitals meet food standards by providing them with the money to do so. Not only will this make hospital stays more pleasant but it’s likely to help patients to recover faster.
New funding sources
Offer non-essential operations within the NHS. This would mean allowing surgeries the NHS would not normally do to be done via the NHS for a payment as an alternative to private hospitals.
- United Kingdom.
A long-term social-care fund. To cover the costs of social care, we propose a ringfenced fund which will be paid for with general taxation. This fund will be offset the effects of population changes on our social care system.