We’re now only hours away from what some are calling the most important election in generations. This article will compare the manifestos of the different political parties on particular key issues, such as social care, disability and health.
Independent Lives is entirely non-political and is not backing any one particular candidate or party. The information in this article will be taken directly from the manifestos or from other non-political sources, so you’re able to use this article to help make an informed decision on voting day.
Health & Social Care
- Some hospital services such as diagnostic tests, pharmacy and transport will run for seven days. These are likely to be supported with new targets.
- A programme of investment in buildings and technology described as ‘ambitious’. The Conservatives have given no details on now this will be funded.
- A minimum £8bn additional funding by 2022-23, with real terms per capita growth every year. Reviewing the operation of the internal care market, and removing non-legislative changes that create barriers to integration and new care models.
- Making legislative changes that are needed to speed up reform. Jeremy Hunt told Health Service Journal (HSJ) that the internal market is too bureaucratic. Potential changes include changing competition and procurement law, merging NHS England and NHS Improvement, and reforming the commissioner/provider split.
- Replace the 30-year-old Mental Health Act with a Mental Health Treatment Bill.
The manifesto said that the intention was to make the social care system ‘fundamentally fairer, better funded and more sustainable’.
- Means testing winter fuel payments and transferring the money ‘directly to health and social care’.
- Including the cost of people’s homes when means-testing for whether domiciliary care should be charged for, in the same way as for residential care.
This would involve extending deferred payment agreements, so that people would not have to sell their home within the lifetime of themselves or their surviving partner. The financial threshold below which assets would be protected from social care would be set at £100,000 – up from the current floor of £23,250.
- The right to request unpaid leave from work to care for a relative for up to a year.
A cap on the amount any individual would pay for social care, as recommended in the Dilnot Commission, was part of the 2015 Conservative manifesto, but after the election implementation was delayed until 2020. The 2017 manifesto did not mention a cap and described the new proposals as more equitable than Dilnot recommendations, which would mostly benefit ‘a small number of wealthier people’. Following widespread criticism, Theresa May announced that a Government Green Paper would include proposals for an ‘absolute limit’ in what people would pay, and would be consulted on.
Children’s Social Care
- The publication of a Green Paper on young people’s mental health by the end of 2017
- The introduction of mental health first aid training for teachers in every primary and secondary school by the end of the parliament.
- Demand all local authorities be commissioners of the highest quality family support and child protection services, removing these responsibilities from the weakest councils and placing them in trust.
- Ensure that Councils provide consistency of care and cannot re-locate vulnerable children far from their home when it is not in their interests to do so.
- Review support for Children in Need to understand why their outcomes are so poor and what support they might require in and out of school.
- Ensure all health and dental services are always publicly provided and funded, and are free at point of access via the introduction of an NHS Reinstatement Act.
- Bring mental health care in line with physical health care and ensure people experiencing mental health crises are supported close to their home.
- A single budget covering health and social services, and investment in social care to improve services.
Children’s Social Care
- Ensure that everyone experiencing a mental health crisis, including children and young people, should have safe and prompt access to quality care, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- The use of police cells as ‘places of safety’ for children should by the end of the next Parliament, only occur for adults in exceptional circumstances.
- Halt and review STP plans and redraw these, so that local people can participate in redrawing the plans with a focus on patient need not available finance.
- A National Care Service ‘built alongside the NHS with a requirement for single commissioning, partnership arrangements, pooled budgets and joint working arrangements.
This will cost an additional £3bn a year and will involve a maximum limit on the personal contribution to care costs, raising the asset threshold for access to state support. Labour will seek political consensus on how to fund the service, but suggests a wealth tax, employer care contribution or new social levy.
- Implement a soft drinks industry levy to reduce sugar.
- Repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2014 and make the NHS the preferred provider.
- Significantly reduce infant deaths and increase bereavement support.
- Increase staff pay.
- Free car parking across the NHS.
Children’s Social Care
- Bring an end to the neglect of children’s mental health services, with investment in early intervention by increasing by increasing the proportion of mental health budgets spent on support for children and young people.
- Re-focus social care on working with families in local communities to prevent children becoming at risk of going into care.
- Promote the care and educational achievement of the most vulnerable children and increase children in kinship and foster care, and their families. Labour supports further regulation of commercial fostering agencies as well as intending to commission a review on establishing a national fostering service.
- Extend Staying Put arrangements to support all children and young people in residential and other forms of care until they are 21.
- Enshrine the European Convention on the Rights of the Child into domestic law.
- Fund children burials nationally across all council areas, so that they are free for bereaved parents. (Some Councils have already made this move).
- An immediate 1p rise on Income Tax to raise £6bn additional revenue, to be ring-fenced for health and social care.
- Better integration of health and social care and limiting the amount older people have to pay for care.
- Ending the public sector pay freeze for NHS workers; implement a national workforce strategy to prevent the shortage of GPs, hospital doctors, nurses and other NHS staff.
- Tackle stigma against mental ill-health, increase access to talking therapies, consider a dedicated service for children and young people based on the Australian ‘headspace’ model, early mental health support for pregnant women, new mothers and those who have experienced miscarriage or stillbirth.
- Raise the amount people can earn before losing Carer’s Allowance from £110 to £150 a week.
- Promote easier access to GPs and prevent practice closures.
Children’s Social Care
- Examine the case for introducing a dedicated service for children and young people based on the Australian ‘headspace’ model and building on many excellent Youth information, advice and counselling services.
- Continue to promote and invest in the Frontline programme to fast-track exceptional graduates into children’s social care, as well as the Think Ahead scheme aimed at encouraging high-achieving graduates to pursue a career in mental health social work.
- Employers will get a year-long National Insurance Contributions holiday for employing someone with a disability or chronic mental health problem
- A pledge to get one million more disabled people into work by 2027
- A Veterans Board in the Cabinet Office will improve the co-ordination of government services including mental health services
- Disabled access to licensed premises, parking and housing will be improved, and the government will work with providers of services, like energy, to reduce the extra costs that disability can incur
- Police and crime commissioners will sit on local health and wellbeing boards to better co-ordinate crime prevention with mental health and local drug and alcohol services
- Employers will provide mental health first aid training to staff – teachers will also be trained
- One million members of the public will be trained in basic mental health awareness and first aid
- Up to 10,000 mental health professionals recruited and primary care facilities, mental health clinics and hospitals will be built and upgraded
- Reform Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services so children are seen within an appropriate time frame and within their locality
- Campaign to reinstate the Access to Elected Office fund
- Scrap the work capability assessment and replace this with support from GPs and health professionals
- Provide better social care and health services – including increased community and advocacy support
- Make improvements in education for disabled young people
- Provide better housing for disabled people via disability housing plans, a housing adaptations fund and an increase in homes built to mobility standards
- Provide better support for carers
- Recognise specialist communication needs by supporting BSL, easy read and Braille
- Scrap the Work Capability and Personal Independence Payment assessments and replace them with individual tailored plans. End reassessments for people with severe long-term conditions
- Increase Employment and Support Allowance by £30 per week for those in the work-related activity group and repeal cuts in Universal Credit for those with limited capability for work
- Scrap the so-called bedroom tax – the current government’s spare room subsidy cuts benefits for social housing tenants with a “spare” room
- Increase carer’s allowance from £62.70 to £73.30 in line with Jobseekers Allowance
- Officially recognise British Sign Language
- Increase apprenticeship targets for people with disabilities, care leavers and veterans
- A Homes Fit For Heroes programme will insulate the homes of disabled veterans for free
- A push for sporting events and transport to be more accessible
- Ring-fence mental health budgets with more spent on young people
- A Child Health Index will measure progress against international standards for obesity, dental health, under 5’s and mental health
- Prevent children being treated on adult mental health wards or being sent out of area for treatment by 2019 – with a focus on community care for primary, social care and mental health care
- Six-week waiting limit for therapy for depression or anxiety – currently there is a maximum wait of 18 weeks
- No young person will wait more than two weeks for treatment after an episode of psychosis
- End out-of-area placements so people are treated close to home
- Identify people with mental health problems, learning disabilities or other vulnerabilities when they come into contact with the criminal justice system and enable the Youth Justice Board to commission mental health services
- Raise the amount people can earn before losing Carer’s Allowance from £110 to £150 a week, and reduce the number of hours’ care per week required to qualify – currently 35
- Train schools to identify mental health issues and offer immediate support and counselling
- Provide support for those with special educational needs and disabilities as early as possible
- Improve disabled access to public transport and support veterans with mental health problems.