The Association is entitled to propose 10 amendments to the Labour Party’s proposed policies. These are the amendments we are planning to propose after discussion at our Central Council last week. (there are 12 listed as we hope to cooperate with another affiliated society). Suggestions for improvements are welcome, but each amendment is limited to 200 words, and they have to be submitted by 13th June.
1. Social Care
Policies which take away the independence of the disabled and cause deteriorating health as a consequence are costly and cruel. An incoming of Labour Government will not implement the current Government’s proposals to end the Independent Living Fund (ILF) in June 2015 and will instead initiate a full review of disabled people’s independent living. As part of that review Labour will look to use National and local government purchasing power to drive down prices of disability related equipment and services, including insurance. Labour will also look at ways of reducing the cost of social care for disabled people and their local authorities without reducing the quality of services delivered.”
2. Mental Health
page 10 line 38 add: “ Britain’s mental health is at its worst since 1997 with increasing morbidity and a worsening suicide rate, because of recession and savage cuts to public services which disproportionately affect the most vulnerable. A clear focus on enhanced well- being and the promotion of mental health within schools, workplaces and general hospitals is needed to reduce the economic and social burden of mental ill health. A new National Service Framework, with a robust set of clinical and social outcomes based on a model of early identification recovery and optimism, delivered in partnership with service users and carers will be established. Labour will instruct the Care Quality Commission to make sure that all providers of mental health and social care services comply with the Equalities Act meeting the access needs of disabled people and the cultural needs of BAME communities. In addition, Labour will demand that all relevant authorities play an active part in improving the integration between physical and mental health services and deploy community development resources with the clear objective of strengthening the community and voluntary sector to deliver on our aspiration for better mental health and spiritual well-being for all local populations.
Children’s mental health is paramount if psychomorbidity in the adult population is to decrease. CAMH services need to be adequate for the speedy identification and treatment of mental disorders in children in the least stigmatising way.”
Page 4 line 7 Delete second paragraph and replace with:-
“Labour will restore the duty of the Secretary of State to deliver a comprehensive, universal NHS overwhelmingly publicly provided and entirely publicly managed and will give the Secretary of State the power to give directions to any part of the NHS.
Labour will deliver an NHS that values and promotes collaboration and cooperation. Labour will remove any legal or other barriers which prevent or deter cooperation including any which seek to require NHS services to be competitively tendered. Labour will replace the system of procurement through commissioning with a system where publicly funded care services are planned and decisions about services and funding are made through open and transparent democratically accountable processes drawing on experiences in Scotland (and Wales, where health outcomes on a par with England are delivered for about 10% less cash than comparable English regions).
The NHS will no longer operate as a market or pretend that Foundation Trusts are free-standing competitive corporations. The private sector will only be allowed to offer patient services as an alternative to the NHS by exception, where it evidences enhanced care and innovation.. ”
Page 4 line 30 delete sentence beginning “Instead, we need…” Insert “The health service must ensure collective and individual accountability throughout. Care must be delivered with as much participation in shared decision-making as the patient wishes at the time. Planning functions must be democratically accountable. We will ensure the engagement of patients and family / carers in the care process as co-producers of health outcomes and the provision of good information to patients to enable them to be actively engaged. Values important to patients like dignity and respect should be demonstrated in every service provided. This should be informed by widely available and meaningful information about the performance of and outcomes from health care services.
Nationally, UK comparative performance in terms of health inputs, care processes and patient outcomes (both patient and clinician reported) will be used to ensure the NHS matches the performance of the best European systems. The average length of life both attained and forecast at national and sub national levels, the number of life years lost, and the quality of life in key respects (especially for the last decade of life) will inform these measures. The Chief Medical Officer (England) will be required to submit an annual report directly to Parliament charting progress in these areas.”
5. Public Health
Page 10 Line 15 insert “We will make healthy choices easier by ensuring that the financial incentives and taxation system supports affordable healthy products such as fresh fruit and vegetables while making unhealthy products high in fat, salt and sugar better regulated and relatively more expensive.
We will remove the VAT exemption from sugar, which has little nutritional value. We will ensure that the quantity of sugar, salt and fat in manufactured food is easily apparent to customers wherever it is sold. We will ban the use of trans fats in food products (as done in Denmark) – and push for the ban to be extended throughout the EU.We will introduce minimum unit pricing and encourage lower alcohol products. We will reduce the hours during which supermarkets are permitted to sell alcohol and make it more difficult to buy dangerous quantities of alcohol following the successful example of reducing damage caused by paracetamol poisoning. We will progressively raise the age below which it is unlawful to supply tobacco to young people. We will bring forward proposals to reform the law on misuse of drugs to balance the penalties against the harm done by different drugs including alcohol and tobacco.”
Amendment to Stability and Prosperity
6. A healthy society
Page 4 line 8 insert “We want to see a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many not the few and where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe. This will not happen in an unhealthy society where wealth is primarily inherited and the benefits of economic growth go to those who are already rich. Labour’s long-term goal is to break the link between a person’s social class and their health. We will work across government, using the power and influence of all government departments and agencies, to achieve this. All Labour’s policies in government will be subject to an assessment of their impact on the public’s health.
We will use a new tax on wealth to finance the NHS and social care system to achieve a level of spend as a percentage of GDP on a par with the best in Europe, aided by the removal of tax rules that currently allow tax avoidance by international companies earning untaxed profits in the UK. We will safeguard the NHS from the TTIP which will otherwise act as a means of a commercial takeover of our healthcare provision. ”
Amendments to Work and Business
7. Health and work
Page 6 line 25 insert: “Employees of all grades with higher levels of control over their work (in terms of content, pacing of tasks, decision-making, etc.) have better health. Low control at work is associated with higher rates of heart disease, musculoskeletal pain, mental ill health and mortality – even when other risk factors (such as smoking) are accounted for. Interventions to improve control at work (for example rotating tasks, flexible working, employee participation in making company decisions, employee ownership/shares) have been found to improve health – with no detrimental effects on productivity. We will introduce measures to ensure that firms are involving employees in the business so that job control is increased. In other European countries, such as Germany, “workers’ councils” are common place in businesses and they could be introduced here.”
8. Benefits for disabled people
Page 11 line 6 add at end “Labour will ensure there is a non means tested benefit to meet the additional costs faced by disabled people, and place them on a level playing field with non disabled people. Pending the benefit redesign Labour will immediately revert to the 50-metre distance test in respect of the higher rate mobility component of PIP. There should be a disabled person on each tribunal considering appeals where award of the benefit has been refused. The assessment must be accessible, fair and transparent, carried out by NHS workers, must use evidence obtained from Occupational Therapists, doctors and other healthcare professionals, use existing assessment data held for people’s entitlement to disability living allowance where held, entitle a recipient of DLA automatically to PIP and be carried out once to result in a lifetime award unless the impact of a condition can be expected to change. There should be no cap on the budget for the benefit, so that all disabled people who meet the criteria receive the benefit. We welcome the report of the Disability and Poverty Taskforce and will work with disabled people and their organisations to examine how its recommendations can be taken forward.”
Amendment to Living Standards and Sustainability
9 Transport and health
Page 3 Line 48 Insert new heading “Transport and health ”
Insert “Traffic accidents are higher in more disadvantaged and urban areas (particularly amongst children and outside schools), and are the leading cause of death in children over 5. We will encourage widespread introduction of 20 mph limits in urban areas to encourage the reclaiming of our streets by pedestrians.
The Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013 will be extended to England so every local authority will be required to publish details of expenditure on transport measures divided between walking, cycling, public transport and motor vehicles. We will rebalance the transport budget so that 10% is spent consistently over the length of the parliament on the needs of pedestrians and cyclists with the aim of building networks of segregated cycle tracks in every major city. We will remove VAT from bicycles.
We will take urgent steps to reduce the air pollution caused by road traffic, and in particular by diesel engines. We will reconsider the taxation of vehicles and motor fuel in the light of the evidence of damage to health caused by particulates.
We will reduce the level of alcohol which is permitted for motorists”
Amendment to Education and Children
10. Healthy Children
Page 10 Line 4 insert “In 2013 the UK had worse rates than nearly every other Western European nation for early neonatal deaths especially among socially disadvantaged groups. More investment in employing trained midwives to provide one to one care is crucial and shown to be effective in reducing still birth. We will ensure that sufficient support from midwives and health visitors is available for women and babies to tackle the appalling level of death among young children. We will increase benefit rates for pregnant women so that they can afford a healthy diet. All children are vulnerable and schools need to do much more to promote both physical and mental health. Every school must have a school nurse and a school counsellor. Childrens mental health services need to be adequate for the speedy identification and treatment of mental disorders in children in the least stigmatising way.”
Amendments to Better Politics
11. Community Development
Page 4. line 24 insert. “Taking part in community activity is a vital way of protecting and improving mental health. Health providers will be directed to support the growth of local voluntary and community groups as a whole, cooperating with the other services which have a mutual interest in this. We will ensure that health agencies play an active part in deploying community development, with the clear objective of strengthening the constructive role of the community and voluntary sector in relation to health. NHS agencies and providers will therefore be expected to play their part in ensuring that every locality has a thriving third sector largely funded by grants rather than contracts. NHS organisations will be expected to take an active part in neighbourhood partnerships and to encourage users and carers groups to do so. There needs to be a shift so that we look at the most disadvantaged people regaining a sense of hope control and optimism over their lives, working on the strengths, (assets), of people, their families and the communities in which they live – this will impact positively on mental health and well-being and is evidence based from the recovery framework that is gaining credence in mental health”.
12. Age discrimination
Page 8 line 46 insert new section “Age”…”We will ensure that there is parity of treatment in health and social care services in respect of both youth and age. This implies
- equal access to effective, safe care
- equal efforts to improve the quality of care
- the allocation of resources on a basis commensurate with need
- equal status within healthcare education and practice
- equally high aspirations for service users
- equal status to the measurement of health outcomes”