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Corbyn promises huge step towards “truly universal” health service

Corbyn promises huge step towards “truly universal” health service by scrapping prescription charges, taking on big pharma and delivering free personal care, so that our healthcare system puts public health ahead of private wealth

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn is today promising that the next Labour government will put “public health ahead of private wealth” and make a huge step towards a “truly universal” health service by abolishing prescription charges in England, ensuring that vital drugs are available at prices that the National Health Service can afford and introducing free personal care to support older people so they can live independently with dignity in their own homes.

Visiting a pharmacy in the key marginal seat of Watford, the Labour Leader will set out Labour’s plans to scrap prescription charges in England as part of the party’s plans to expand universalism in public services and tackle health inequalities. After the Queen’s Speech failed to set out any legislation on social care, provided no details of any proposals and did not set a time limit for any reforms, the Labour Leader will also set out Labour’s plans to more than double the number of people receiving state-funded care and reduce the number of people facing catastrophic costs in old age for their care. Labour will:

  • Introduce free personal care for older people, providing help with daily tasks such as getting in and out of bed, bathing and washing, and preparing meals in their own homes and residential care;
  • Address the funding gap in social care;

Labour also promise to take on the big pharmaceutical companies which deny life-saving and life-changing medicines to ill patients by charging “extortionate prices” for drugs. Labour will:

  • Be prepared to use compulsory licensing when necessary to secure patented medicines at a price that is affordable for the NHS;
  • Make public funding for research conditional on the resulting drugs being priced affordably for all;
  • Create a new publicly-owned generic drugs manufacturer to supply cheaper medicines to the NHS

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said “Healthcare is a human right. Nobody should be worried about being able to afford the medicines they need, and our NHS should not be priced out of providing the drugs people need because of pharmaceutical companies charging extortionate prices for medicines.

“The right to healthcare extends to the right to dignity and security in old age. Under the Tories, our social care sector is in a scandalous state, with one million people not getting the care they need. Labour will right this wrong and introduce personal care free at the point of use, extending state-funded care to hundreds of thousands more people.

“The next Labour government will make a huge step towards ensuring that our health service is truly universal by scrapping prescription charges, and taking on the big pharmaceutical companies so our healthcare system puts public health ahead of private wealth.

“Labour will make sure that when the public pay for research the public benefit, and we will create a new publicly-owned generic drugs manufacturer to supply cheaper medicines to our NHS – saving money and lives.”