The Labour party has pledged £2.5 billion to support 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more GPs and 8,000 other care workers by 2020.
Speaking at the Labour party conference, party leader Ed Miliband said the money would come from a tax on tobacco companies as well as a mansion tax for properties worth more than £2 million and toughening the rules on tax avoidance.
Miliband said that “we are going to have to transform the way the NHS works in the year ahead”.
He said: “The NHS is sliding backwards under this government. They are privatising and fragmenting it. Just think what it would be like after five more years of this government.
“It is not safe in their hands. We built the NHS, we saved the NHS, we will repeal the Health and Social Care Act and we will transform the NHS for the future.
“The NHS is currently creaking. One in four people wait a week or more for a GP appointment. We have seen the scandal of care visits restricted to just 15 minutes for the elderly. It is time to care about the NHS so that doctors, nurses, care workers, midwives are able to spend proper time with us – and not to be rushed off their feet.”
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee said: “We are already working with NHS England on the best way to create the right environment to make general practice an attractive and rewarding career and whoever is in government next year needs to make this a priority.
“With the NHS facing a perfect storm of rising demand and a £30bn funding shortfall, patients and the public need to see a detailed, meaningful plan from politicians on how they will create a sustainable infrastructure and capacity in general practice to deliver on current and future needs.”
Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing also welcomed the proposals.
He said: “”These proposals are not only very welcome, but investing in nursing is absolutely necessary, whoever wins the next election. We need to celebrate the difference nurses can make if they are properly resourced across the board, whether they are staffing an A & E unit, delivering public health messages, helping a patient to manage their diabetes or providing long term care at home.
“The challenge is significant, but we have the expertise within the nursing profession to make the NHS we want to see in the future a reality. Today’s announcement is a very important signal that this has been recognised at a political level and we look forward to working with the Labour Party to further develop the way forward.”