Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents health service organisations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said:

“We welcome the attention which all parties are giving to the issue of health and care funding. The current system is under immense pressure and is struggling to cope financially and clinically – significant extra money will be needed over the next Parliamentary session if we are to avoid a major crisis.

“It is vital that the next government commits to an objective assessment looking at which services are needed and the funding required to pay for them. We need an Office for Budget Responsibility for Health to undertake this and make sure that future funding is underpinned by a strong evidence base.

“And critically, we need a visible and objective measure of funding as we have seen for overseas aid and the armed forces – the next administration needs to commit to a minimum funding level for health and care linked to GDP. As the economy grows, so should health and care spending.”