Conservative Manifesto on NHS

As in 2015 BPV is providing information to patients about what the Manifesto of the winning party said about the NHS. We appreciate that until there are announcements about the arrangements with the DUP and the Queen’s Speech is published there are even more uncertainties than usual as to whether the Manifesto will be modified. We hope to publish some non-partisan comments once matters are clearer. Meanwhile the text follows:

THE CONSERVATIVE AND UNIONIST PARTY MANIFESTO 2017

 

OUR NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE

 

Our National Health Service is the essence of solidarity in our United Kingdom – our

commitment to each other, between young and old, those who have and those who

do not, and the healthy and the sick.

 

The Conservative Party believes in the founding principles of the NHS. First, that the

service should meet the needs of everyone, no matter who they are or where they live.

Second, that care should be based on clinical need, not the ability to pay. Third, that

care should be free at the point of use. As the NHS enters its eighth decade, the next

Conservative government will hold fast to these principles by providing the NHS with

the resources it needs and holding it accountable for delivering exceptional care to

patients wherever and whenever they need it.

 

The money and people the NHS needs

 

In five ways, the next Conservative government will give the NHS the resources it needs.

First, we will increase NHS spending by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the

next five years, delivering an increase in real funding per head of the population for

every year of the parliament.

 

Second, we will ensure that the NHS and social care system have the nurses, midwives,

doctors, carers and other health professionals that it needs. We will make it a priority

in our negotiations with the European Union that the 140,000 staff from EU countries

can carry on making their vital contribution to our health and care system. However, we

cannot continue to rely on bringing in clinical staff instead of training sufficient numbers

ourselves. Last year we announced an increase in the number of students in medical

training of 1,500 a year; we will continue this investment, doing something the NHS has

never done before, and train the doctors our hospitals and surgeries need.

Third, we will ensure that the NHS has the buildings and technology it needs to deliver

care properly and efficiently. Since its inception, the NHS has been forced to use too

many inadequate and antiquated facilities, which are even more unsuitable today. We

will put this right and enable more care to be delivered closer to home, by building and

upgrading primary care facilities, mental health clinics and hospitals in every part of

England. Over the course of the next parliament, this will amount to the most ambitious

programme of investment in buildings and technology the NHS has ever seen.

Fourth, whilst the NHS will always treat people in an emergency, no matter where they

are from, we will recover the cost of medical treatment from people not resident in the

  1. We will ensure that new NHS numbers are not issued to patients until their eligibility

has been verified. And we will increase the Immigration Health Surcharge, to £600 for

migrant workers and £450 for international students, to cover their use of the NHS. This

remains competitive compared to the costs of health insurance paid by UK nationals

working or studying overseas.

 

Fifth, we will implement the recommendations of the Accelerated Access Review to make

sure that patients get new drugs and treatments faster while the NHS gets best value for

money and remains at the forefront of innovation.

 

Holding NHS leaders to account

 

It is NHS England that determines how best to organise and deliver care in England, set

out in its own plan to create a modern NHS – the Five Year Forward View. We support it. We

will also back the implementation of the plan at a local level, through the Sustainability

and Transformation Plans, providing they are clinically led and locally supported.

We will hold NHS England’s leaders to account for delivering their plan to improve

patient care. If the current legislative landscape is either slowing implementation or

preventing clear national or local accountability, we will consult and make the necessary

legislative changes. This includes the NHS’s own internal market, which can fail to act in

the interests of patients and creates costly bureaucracy. So we will review the operation

of the internal market and, in time for the start of the 2018 financial year, we will make

non-legislative changes to remove barriers to the integration of care.

 

We expect GPs to come together to provide greater access, more innovative services,

share data and offer better facilities, while ensuring care remains personal – particularly

for older and more vulnerable people – with named GPs accountable for individual

patients. We will support GPs to deliver innovative services that better meet patients’

needs, including phone and on-line consultations and the use of technology to triage

people better so they see the right clinician more quickly. We will ensure appropriate

funding for GPs to meet rising costs of indemnity in the short term while working with

the profession to introduce a sustainable long-term solution.

 

We will introduce a new GP contract to help develop wider primary care services. We

will reform the contract for hospital consultants to reflect the changed nature of hospital

care over the past twenty years. We shall support more integrated working, including

ensuring community pharmacies can play a stronger role to keep people healthy outside

hospital within the wider health system. We will support NHS dentistry to improve

coverage and reform contracts so that we pay for better outcomes, particularly for

deprived children. And we will legislate to reform and rationalise the current outdated

system of professional regulation of healthcare professions, based on the advice of

professional regulators, and ensure there is effective registration and regulation of those

performing cosmetic interventions.

 

We will also help the million and more NHS clinicians and support staff develop the skills

they need and the NHS requires in the decades ahead. We will encourage the development

of new roles and create a diverse set of potential career paths for the NHS workforce. And

we will reform medical education, including helping universities and local health systems

work closer together to develop the roles and skills needed to serve patients.

We want the NHS to become a better employer. We will strengthen the entitlement to

flexible working to help those with caring responsibilities for young children or older

relatives. We will introduce new services for employees to give them the support they

need, including quicker access to mental health and musculoskeletal services. We will

act to reduce bullying rates in the NHS, which are far too high. We will take vigorous and

immediate action against those who abuse or attack the people who work for and make

our NHS.

 

Exceptional standards of care, wherever, whenever

 

Outcomes in the NHS for most major conditions are considerably better than three, five

or ten years ago. However, the founding intention for the NHS was to provide good levels

of care to everyone, wherever they live. This has not yet been achieved: there remain

significant variations in outcomes and quality across services and across the country. We

will act to put this right.

 

To help the NHS provide exceptional care in all parts of England, we will make clinical

outcomes more transparent so that clinicians and frontline staff can learn more easily

from the best units and practices, and where there is clear evidence of poor patient

outcomes, we will take rapid corrective action. We will ensure patients have the

information they need to understand local services and hold them to account.

We will empower patients, giving them a greater role in their own treatment and use

technology to put care at their convenience. In addition to the digital tools patients

already have, we will give patients, via digital means or over the phone, the ability to

book appointments, contact the 111 service, order repeat prescriptions, and access and

update aspects of their care records, as well as control how their personal data is used.

We will continue to expand the number of NHS approved apps that can help monitor

care and provide support for physical and mental health conditions. We will pilot the

live publication of waiting times data for A&Es and other urgent care services. We will

further expand the use of personal budgets. We will also continue to take action to reduce

obesity and support our National Diabetes Prevention Programme.

 

Our ambition is also to provide exceptional care to patients whenever they need it. That

is why we want England to be the first nation in the world to provide a truly seven-day

healthcare service. That ambition starts with primary care. Already 17 million people

can get routine weekend or evening appointments at either their own GP surgery or one

nearby, and this will expand to the whole population by 2019.

 

In hospitals, we will make sure patients receive proper consultant supervision every day

of the week with weekend access to the key diagnostic tests needed to support urgent

care. We will also ensure hospitals can discharge emergency admissions at a similar rate

at weekends as on weekdays, so that when someone is medically fit to leave hospital they

can, whichever day of the week it is.

 

We will retain the 95 per cent A&E target and the 18-week elective care standard so that

those needing care receive it in a timely fashion.

 

We will continue to help the NHS on its journey to being the safest healthcare system

in the world. We will extend the scope of the CQC to cover the health-related services

commissioned by local authorities. We will legislate for an independent healthcare safety

investigations body in the NHS. We will require the NHS to continue to reduce infant and

maternal deaths, which remain too high.

 

Our commitment to consistent high quality care for everyone applies to all conditions.

We will set new standards in some priority areas and also improve our response to

historically underfunded and poorly understood disease groups.

In cancer services, we will deliver the new promise to give patients a definitive diagnosis

within 28 days by 2020, while expanded screening and a major radiotherapy equipment

upgrade will help ensure many more people survive cancer.

 

We will continue to rectify the injustice suffered by those with mental health problems,

by ensuring that they get the care and support they deserve. So we will make sure there is

more support in every part of the country by recruiting up to 10,000 more mental health

professionals. We shall require all our medical staff to have a deeper understanding of

mental health and all trainees will get a chance to experience working in mental health

disciplines; we shall ensure medical exams better reflect the importance of this area. And

we will improve the co-ordination of mental health services with other local services,

including police forces and drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.

 

We have a specific task to improve standards of care for those with learning disabilities

and autism. We will work to reduce stigma and discrimination and implement in full the

Transforming Care Programme.

 

We will improve the care we give people at the end of life. We will fulfil the commitment we

made that every person should receive attentive, high quality, compassionate care, so that

their pain is eased, their spiritual needs met and their wishes for their closing weeks, days

and hours respected. We will ensure all families who lose a baby are given the bereavement

support they need, including a new entitlement to child bereavement leave.

 

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