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January 9, 2015 / politicsbitesize

UK General Election – the NHS

NHS AnEThe headlines this week feared for the health of the NHS as at least fifteen hospitals across the UK had to implement ‘major incident’ emergency plans. A record number of people swamped A&E departments in a bid to be treated by doctors, with a high proportion of them being aged and frail patients. The cause of this crisis has been attributed to an inability of the infrastructure to cope with an ageing population coupled with cuts to social care funding for the elderly.

Whatever side of the political fence you sit on, it is clear that our national healthcare system is in drastic need of an injection of funds. Where this funding comes from is of vital importance to the future of our NHS.

In the run up to the General Election, Politics:bitesize will lay bare the key policies of each major party (Green, Liberal, National Health Action Party (NHA), Labour, UKIP, and the Conservatives) for its readers to compare and decide for themselves who to vote for in May.

First issue: the NHS
The Green Party will:

  • Maintain a publicly funded, publicly provided health service, and oppose NHS privatisation and treating healthcare as a market.
  • Keep the health service free – abolish prescription charges, reintroduce free eye tests and NHS dental treatment for all, and ensure NHS chiropody is widely available.
  • Provide accessible, local community health centres that provide a wide range of services, including out-of-hours care, and are an additional tier of healthcare rather than a replacement for your GP.
  • Use increased taxes on alcohol and tobacco to fund overall real growth in the medium term of at least 1.2% per annum in the NHS budget.


The Liberal Democrats will:

  • Improve services across the NHS, with 6,000 more doctors, lower waiting times and giving cancer drugs to 30,000 people.
  • Take mental health seriously, putting £400m extra into early support.
  • Introduce the first ever cap on the cost of social care, so people don’t have to sell their home to pay for their care.


NHA will:

  • Halt unnecessary hospital closures and support local A&E and maternity provision.
  • Stop privatising NHS services & get rid of the market.
  • Make the Health Secretary responsible again for providing health care.
  • Fight the EU-USA trade deal (TTIP) that will make NHS privatisation irreversible.


The Labour Party will:

  • Guarantee that you can get a GP appointment within 48 hours – and on the same day for those who need it.
  • Give people the right to book an appointment more than 48 hours ahead with the GP of their choice. This is particularly important for people with complex needs who need continuity of care with the same doctor, but may not want an appointment straight away.
  • Create an NHS Time to Care Fund – an extra £2.5 billion a year – to train, recruit and fund new staff and to ensure that you and your family can see your GP, and get access to vital cancer tests, fast.


UKIP will:

  • Ensure the NHS is free at the point of delivery and time of need for all UK residents.
  • Stop further use of PFI in the NHS and encourage local authorities to buy out their PFI contracts early where this is affordable.
  • Ensure that GPs’ surgeries are open at least one evening per week, where there is demand for it.
  • Ensure foreign health service professionals coming to work in the NHS are properly qualified and can speak English to a standard acceptable to the profession.


The Conservative Party will (and have):

  • Passed into law with the Health and Social Care Act 2012.
  • Make the NHS more efficient and less bureaucratic by making up to £20 billion worth of efficiency savings, so there are more funds available for treating patients and to allow the NHS to respond to changing demands and new technologies.
  • Make sure health and social care services work together by giving £2.7 billion to local councils to help them join up NHS and social care services.
  • Increase research and innovation in health and social care by providing nearly £1 billion a year to help fund health research projects in the NHS, research centres and facilities.



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