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Jeremy Corbyn pledges NHS money will go to 'patients not contractors'

Published 23/08/2016

Jeremy Corbyn will support bursaries for nurses
Jeremy Corbyn will support bursaries for nurses

Jeremy Corbyn is to pledge cash for "patients not contractors" when he fleshes out plans billed as aiming to "renationalise" the NHS.

The Labour leader's commitments are to include ending private finance initiative (PFI) contracts and guaranteeing bursaries for nurses, which the Government is replacing with loans from summer 2017 in a bid to free up around £800 million a year.

He is also expected to claim the Conservatives have "run our treasured National Health Service into the ground" as he makes the case for it to be "fully publicly funded".

Mr Corbyn's NHS blueprint will seek to counter the one delivered by his Labour leadership opponent Owen Smith, who has already insisted a "100% publicly-funded NHS" is an "absolute red line".

Mr Smith made the promise after being forced to deny he has changed his stance on private sector involvement within the health service since working as head of policy at drugs giant Pfizer.

Mr Corbyn, who will launch his NHS policy during a speech in London on Wednesday, is expected to say: "The Tories have run our treasured National Health Service into the ground and we need to get serious about stopping them.

"The next Labour government would go further than reversing Tory cuts - it would deliver a modern health and social care service that is fully publicly provided and fully publicly funded.

"PFI continues to take money away from patient care while job and bursary cuts have crippled the NHS and disproportionately hit women who make up 77% of NHS staff.

"And it's disgraceful that your life expectancy and standard of care can change so dramatically depending on your class, your job, your race and gender or the area you live in.

"Health, health financing and health inequality is a matter of paramount national importance.

"The Labour government I lead will ensure that money goes to patients not contractors, and that our NHS is given the resources to provide a top quality service as part of a programme to rebuild and transform Britain so that no-one and no community is left behind."

Mr Corbyn, speaking at east London campaign rally on Tuesday, said: "We are very, very serious on two fundamental issues - the health service, healthcare is a human right not a privilege."

He also backed the principle of mental health being given equal priority to physical health.

Shadow health secretary Diane Abbott, s peaking at the same event, said : "There's a huge load of nonsense about privatisation and how it improves standards, improves competition.

"The only way that privatisation saves you money is by bearing down on the wages and conditions of people that work in the NHS and the public sector."

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