According to the Labour Party website the Labour Party will try to achieve the following if they retain power at the 2010 general election on May 6th:

The National Health Service is the Labour Party’s greatest achievement. We created it, we saved it, we value it and we will always support it. The NHS remains Britain’s most cherished public service and the fairest system of healthcare in the world. Under Labour, the NHS is in good hands, well placed to meet the new demands and challenges which will be placed upon it in the future.

But the NHS must continue to change and improve, responding to the combined pressures of an ageing population, rising patient expectations and medical advances. We will ensure that the NHS is always clinically driven, patient centred and responsive to local communities, and based on need not ability to pay. We will give hospitals incentives to focus on quality as well as quantity through the introduction of powerful financial incentives which will link payment to quality, including patient satisfaction.. The new NHS Constitution sets out for the first time to patients, staff and the public what they can expect from the NHS and what, in return, is expected from them.

Now that our investment and reform have brought waiting lists down, we are turning waiting time targets into legally enforceable guarantees for all patients: a maximum two-week guarantee on cancer referrals, and a maximum 18-week guarantee for hospital treatment, as well as rights to free health checks and to evening and weekend access to GPs. And over the next five years, starting in 2011 with three of the biggest killers – lung, colorectal and ovarian cancers – we will deliver our commitment to a cancer diagnosis within one week, giving GPs direct access to ultrasound and MRI scans, with a new target of one-week access to diagnostic tests for cancer, with results – saving up to 10,000 lives a year.

Diagnosing people early – or even preventing them developing illnesses – is not just better for patients: it means the NHS can do more with the resources it has. In addition to an extension in the ages at which adults are screened for cancer, Labour will give everyone aged between 40 and 74 the right to a free health check, to prevent at least 9,500 heart attacks and strokes every year and save 2,000 lives. Since 2008 , teenage girls have been offered a new vaccine against cervical cancer, which will save hundreds of women’s lives each year.

And to help meet the challenge of tackling obesity, the NHS is working with voluntary groups and private organisations through the popular Change4Life programme to prevent people from becoming overweight by encouraging them to eat better and stay active.

True to our values of fairness, Labour will focus particular priority in the years ahead on tackling health inequalities, so that as the health of the whole population rises, nobody is left behind. This must involve improving public health and preventative services as well as primary and acute care – supporting people to make healthy choices for themselves and their families, and spotting the most dangerous conditions at an early stage when they can be dealt with most easily. We will focus the NHS locally on improving life expectancy and reducing infant mortality. The approach will include targeted investment and action for high risk groups such as smoking cessation programmes, ensuring high quality screening services and introducing health checks for everybody aged 40-74.

And as demand for social care increases, and older and disabled people rightly demand and expect more power and control over the care services they receive, Labour will transform the way social care is funded and delivered to create a new National Care Service, ending the postcode lottery for care and ensuring that users and carers have fair access to the support they need and the dignity they deserve. As a starting-point, we will offer free personal care at home for those with the highest needs.

Labour’s record

* 89,000 more nurses and 44,000 more doctors in the NHS since 1997 have helped to drive up standards and drive down waits.
* Waiting lists have fallen by over 500,000 and waiting times are now at their lowest level since records began.
* In 1997 284 000 patients waited more than 6 months for an operation. The figure today is almost zero.
* 3 million more operations are carried out each year than in 1997.
* The premature mortality rate for cancer is the lowest ever recorded, saving nearly 9,000 lives in 2006 compared to 1996.
* Premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases has dropped by more than 40 per cent since 1996, saving nearly 34,000 lives a year.
* The NHS has delivered the largest hospital building programme in its history, with 118 new hospital schemes opened and a further 18 under construction.
* Created new services to provide patients with greater convenience including around 100 new walk-in centres and over 750 one-stop primary care centre.

Labour Party Health Policy :

I would be interested to hear both positive and negative views on Labour’s Health policies in the comments below?

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