Dear Jon

Labour Health Policy

Welcome to your new role as Shadow Secretary of State for Health. It is to be hoped that you can build a strong team and bring continuity after the sadly premature departure of Heidi Alexander.

You take the role at a time of major pressures on our NHS due to the inadequate funding and the lack of proper system of accountability because of the ludicrous H&SC Act. We are also witnessing but not adequately highlighting the disgraceful continuing decline in social care and support.

Labour went into the 2015 general election with some care policies that were widely supported throughout the party after a long period of policy development. The position however was weakened by the lack of a credible approach to the funding of care. What Labour’s policies are now is a mystery.

Suggestions:-

  • Hold the Secretary of State to account for winter planning
  • Hold the government to account for misery caused by social care cuts
  • Hold the government to account for the deteriorating performance and workforce alienation in the NHS and poor working conditions in social care
  • Argue for a two year moratorium and a pause on policy changes in the NHS – get the NHS back to running at 2010 levels of satisfaction and eliminate deficits – bring stability first before trying transformation.
  • Lead the campaign against the cuts in social care which desperately needs investment and implementation of Dilnot and a return to a universal entitlement meeting all needs moderate and above.
  • Campaign to reverse cuts in public health funding and to give extra funding to drive public health involvement in STPs
  • Work with Labour authorities trying to make STPs and Devo work
    • Argue an STP type process is right in principle as it ends H&SC Act nonsense – but secrecy and lack of credibility over funding have made it toxic
    • So re-start the formal STP process – first year for engagement and consultation feasibility studies etc; second year detailed planning; start roll out of system changes in year 3 after stability returns.

And within the party:-

  • Go back to the 2015 policy position and develop further what is already there; especially around issues of funding and resource allocation.
  • Try to build a wider base of credibility to enable proper work on policy development. Maybe another commission (Paying for whole person care).
  • Develop further the ideas in the Efford Bill to show how proper accountability could apply in a non-market system without the huge disruption of a major top down reorganisation.