This week, the last NHS monthly figures before the General Election were released, prompting Labour and the Liberal Democrats to attack the Tories’ record on the NHS. The data showed that hospital performance in England is at its worst level on record. Key targets for cancer, hospital care and Accident & Emergency have been missed for over three years, with delays hitting their highest levels since both targets were introduced in 2004.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has responded and said that “huge demand” was to blame and insisted that the Conservatives would deliver a “strong, dynamic economy” which would ensure rises in the NHS budget.
All the parties are proposing to increase the NHS budget. The government announced a five-year funding plan last year, which would see the front-line budget rise by 3.4% a year up to 2023. The Conservatives are also promising £34 billion more in funding by 2023-2024.
Labour has said it would also spend an extra 3.9% a year on the NHS. They have pledged to raise the budget to £155bn by 2023-2024 by taxation on the wealthiest 5%. Their priorities are to reduce A&E waiting times, improve cancer survival rates and fund counselling services to boost young people’s mental health.
Party manifestos are due for publication next week and it is supposed that health will feature as a central concern for both Labour and the Tories.