Jeremy Corbyn promises extra £37bn for NHS

Labour would pump an extra £37 billion into the NHS if it wins the next election, with measures aimed at improving A&E performance and taking one million patients off waiting lists.

Labour's plans involve a target to tackle bed blocking and a new guarantee that patients with the most urgent needs are seen within an hour at A&E departments.

An extra £2 billion a year would be pledged to modernise NHS buildings and systems.

In a speech at the Royal College of Nursing Conference in Liverpool, Mr Corbyn said only Labour could put the NHS "back on its feet" - and suggested five more years of Theresa May in power would leave it "unrecognisable".

The Labour leader also claimed Tory cuts had left the NHS vulnerable to Friday's cyber attack, criticising Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt for his apparent absence during the crisis.

Labour's NHS pledges:

  • Extra £37 billion over the course of the next Parliament

  • Of that, £2 billion annually for modernising buildings and systems

  • Commitment to meeting the existing 18-week waiting list target and the four-hour A&E goal

  • New £500 million fund to help ensure the NHS avoids a winter crisis

  • Help 2.5 million cancer patients by delivering in full the cancer strategy for England.

During his speech, Mr Corbyn said: "This is about having a health service for the many.

"In the past seven years the Tories have driven our National Health Service into crisis.

"A&E departments are struggling to cope. Waiting lists are soaring and, and as we saw last week, Tory cuts have exposed patient services to cyber attack.

"Imagine what would happen to the NHS if the Conservatives under Theresa May were to have another five years in power.

"It would be unrecognisable: a national health service in name, cut back, broken up and plundered by private corporations.

"Only Labour will put the NHS back on its feet."

To applause, Mr Corbyn revealed Labour's plans for an extra £7.5 billion in NHS funding annually, including £10 billion over five years to upgrade buildings and IT systems.

  • May rejects NHS under-funding criticism

Mr Corbyn was also critical of the Health Secretary for his apparently absence as more than 40 NHS trusts battled a cyber attack over the weekend which crippled its IT systems.

Quoting a health service worker who asked why Mr Hunt had been reappointed, the Labour leader said: "There is apparently no answer to that question.

"You'll have to ask to ask Jeremy Hunt when he makes himself available to answer questions.

"I'm sure it's only a matter of time and I'm sure he's going to be pitching up anytime soon."

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt was criticised by Mr Corbyn. Credit: PA

To tackle bed blocking, Labour will develop a new target for delayed discharge of patients, ensuring 80% of patients are released from hospital with an appropriate care package within a week of being deemed ready to go home.

How will Labour fund its £37bn NHS cash injection?

  • Funding for Labour's New Deal For NHS Patients will be met from tax rises for the top 5% of earners;

  • Additional money will also come from increases to corporation tax and a higher-rate insurance premium tax on private medical insurance;

  • Labour's "national transformation fund" for capital expenditure will also contribute;

  • The previously-announced plan to lift the 1% cap on pay rises will also be funded from corporation tax.

The waiting list for NHS treatments stood at 3.7 million in March 2017, compared to 2.4 million in March 2010.

By resourcing hospitals to deliver the 18-week referral to treatment target, Labour plans to bring waiting lists back down to 2010 levels, taking one million people off the waiting list by 2022.

What have the other political parties made of Labour's health plans?

Other political parties have rubbished Labour's NHS plans.

A Conservative spokesman said: "Jeremy Corbyn can't deliver any of this because his nonsensical economic policies would damage our economy and mean less money for the NHS, not more.

"Just look at Wales where Labour cut funding for the NHS.

"We are putting an extra £10 billion into the NHS and with strong and stable leadership from Theresa May we will be able to secure the strong economy our NHS needs."

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: "You cannot solve the crisis in our NHS and social care services by simply imposing more top-down targets on staff and plucking numbers out of thin air.

"The Liberal Democrats are the only party with a fully costed plan to deliver £6 billion more per year for the NHS and social care by putting a penny on income tax.

"This is a plan endorsed by senior health experts including the former head of NHS England David Nicholson.

"We will be honest with the public that giving the NHS and social care the funding they need will mean us all chipping in a little more."