Sixty-one charities and social enterprises have called for political parties to work with the voluntary sector and do more to improve the nation’s health than simply focusing on NHS funding.
In an article posted on the blogging site Medium, the charities warned that the election debate "is at risk of being too simplistic and missing the point" on health policy.
Signatories include the local infrastructure umbrella body Navca, the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group and charities including Macmillan Cancer Support, Mind, the British Heart Foundation, Age UK, the Alzheimer’s Society, Asthma UK and Parkinson’s UK.
The article says that life expectancy in the UK is stalling, while people feel their health is worsening and they are living more years with ill-health. It says the UK’s other health statistics are poor in comparison with other countries.
The charities are calling for a cross-party commitment to promote health beyond the NHS and social care, to make physical and mental health and wellbeing an overarching goal across all ministerial departments and to put aside parliamentary and public time for domestic health policy and legislation.
A comprehensive health and wellbeing strategy, a resolution to the social care crisis in the short and long terms, and investment in community health through local authorities and charities are other demands included in the article.
"Health is about physical and mental health and wellbeing – across the life-course, including at the end of life," the article says.
"As important as hospitals are, they are rarely where good health is created. Health is made good or bad within the neighbourhoods and communities we live.
"Our members rightly want to see many of the overwhelmed and under-resourced elements of the health and care system being addressed, including the reform of social care for both working age and older adults, and investment in public health."