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With the general election now under a month away we take a look at each party and what they are promising to pledge to healthcare and the NHS if elected.

Conservatives

Primary points:

  • Increase health spending in real terms each year to an extra £8 billion a year by 2020.
  • Train at least 5,000 extra GP’s by 2020, which will give 8am-8pm access to GP’s, 7 days a week.
  • Extra £1.25 billion to be spent on mental health services over 5 years.

Current Chancellor has also announced plans to transfer £6 billion a year of NHS funding to Greater Manchester. The aim of this is create a ‘northern powerhouse’ to rival London and also to improve the link between the NHS and social care.

 

Labour

Primary points:

  • £2.5 billion funding for the NHS, to pay for 20,000 more nurses, 3,000 midwives, 5,000 care workers and 8,000 GPs
  • Repeal key aspects of the Health and Social Care Act and cap the amount of profit private firms can make from the NHS at 5% in order to make the NHS the preferred provider of services.
  • Combine NHS health care and social care by integrating physical health, mental health and social care.

As the labour party introduced the NHS back in the late 1940’s they are making this election campaign about health. The £2.5 billion ‘time to care’ fund mentioned above is interesting as the funds are to be brought about by coming down hard on tax avoidance, introducing a Mansion Tax on properties over £2 million and proposing fees on tobacco companies to make an increased contribution to aiding illness caused by smoking.

 

Liberal Democrats

Primary points:

  • Similar to the Conservatives they want to increase funding for the NHS by up to £8 billion a year by 2020/21, initially starting with an extra £1 billion a year from 2015 to 2018.
  • Integrate health and social care funding and give increased responsibility to health and wellbeing boards.
  • Increase the budget for mental health services by £3.5 billion.
  • The above figures includes the £1.25 billion promised in the 2015 budget.

The Lib Dems seemed to want to focus its efforts in two areas: mental health and preventing illness. £500 million extra a year has been promised to help tackle the increasing mental health problem the UK is facing, and increased funding is to be given on promoting keeping people healthier.

 

UKIP 

Primary points:

  • Increase spending on the NHS by £3 billion a year for frontline services, with £1 billion to be set aside for social care for elderly people.
  • Keep the NHS free at the point of use but introduce NHS-approved private medical insurance mandatory for all visitors to the UK and for migrants who have lived in the UK for less than 5 years.
  • Extra £600 million to be made available for dementia services

Despite a recorded video suggesting otherwise UKIP leader does not want to replace the NHS with an insurance-based style health care system. In fact the Mr. Farage wants to give the NHS an extra £3 billion for front line services. UKIP also plan to scrap the CQC (Care Quality Commission) and replace it with county health boards comprising of locally elected health professionals.

 

Green Party

Primary points:

  • Plans to ensure the NHS remains publicly-funded and free at the point of use.
  • Repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and end privatisation of the NHS.
  • Increase priority of mental health and provide social care for all people over the age of 65 if needed.

The Green Party strongly disagree with the way the current coalition have ran the NHS and want to ensure that the NHS remains completely publicly-funded. They aim to do this by introducing an NHS tax to increase funding to the EU average. They also plan to limit the role of private companies within the NHS, something they have already tried to do but has been rejected by the Department of Health.

 

So there you have it. A short introduction to the healthcare pledges of the 5 major political parties in the UK (SNP and Plaid Cymru not included), and more can no doubt be found in each party’s full political manifesto.

Is the NHS and health care policy high on the agenda when you head to the polling stations on May 7th? We’d love to hear your thoughts, let us know in the comments below!