A Labour government will cap the profits private firms can make from the NHS at 5% while the Conservatives have pledged a seven day NHS, the parties have revealed in the run-up to the general election.
Conservatives - 'A truly 7 day NHS'
Prime minister David Cameron pleded a seven day NHS with increased funding, in a speech to the Conservative Party spring forum in Manchester.
He said: "For years it's been too hard to access the NHS out of hours. But illness doesn't respect working hours.
"Heart attacks, major accidents, babies - these things don't just come from 9-5. And the truth is that you are actually more likely to die if you turn up at the hospital at the weekend.
"Some of the resources, like scanners, are not up and running. The key decision-makers aren't always there.
"So I can tell you this. With a future Conservative Government, we would have a truly 7 day NHS.
He added: "There is one group that depends upon them more than most - the elderly. We don't just want the NHS to be there for them - we want it to work for them.
"We're ending those years of seeing different doctor after different doctor - an anonymous patient, pushed from pillar to post.
"We're doing that by restoring the family doctor: one GP who stays with you throughout your care. We're strengthening the connection between health and social care.
"We're spending £5.3 billion integrating the two, so when doctor speaks to carer, when hospital specialist speaks to district nurse, families are engaged and older people are given the best treatment."
Labour - 'We'll stop the tide of privitisation'
Labour's plans were revealed in leader Ed Miliband's campaign launch speech in Stratford, where he pledged to repeal the Health and Social Care Act.
Describing the NHS as "the bedrock of security for working families" Ed Miliband pledged to "rescue" the NHS from the coalition government.
Labour promised 20,000 more nurses, 8,000 more doctors, 5,000 new care staff and 3,000 midwives, funded by a Mansion Tax, levy on tobacco and changing the tax system for hedge funds.
He said: "Privatisation of the NHS is no longer simply out of step with our principles, it is out of step with the needs of the time.
"If the task of health care in the future is integrating services, bringing them together, the last thing we need is to fragment and privatise.
"Because it sets hospital against hospital, service against service. Privatisation cannot meet the needs of 21st century healthcare.
"We're going to restore the right principles to our National Health Service."
He continued: "With the next Labour government: We'll scrap David Cameron's market framework for the NHS and stop the tide of privatisation. The NHS will be the preferred provider.
"No company working with the NHS will be able to profit by cherry picking: rejecting patients with the more complex and expensive needs for their own advantage.
"And, for the first time, we will cap the profits that private health companies can make from our National Health Service. The standard rule will be a five per cent cap.
"Because the money we pay for our health care should be invested for patient care not for excess profits for private firms."