The UK’s political parties have outlined their plans for the NHS in their 2015 election manifestos, with a focus on investment and access to care.
The Liberal Democrats confirm that they will increase NHS spending in England by at least £8bn a year by 2020, with an “appropriate” boost in funding for the rest of the UK. Mental health features prominently in the manifesto, with the party guaranteeing equal care for those with mental health problems and a pledge of £500m per year for better mental health care. The party also says it will make better use of community pharmacists for the management of minor illnesses, as well as reviewing the rules for prescription charge exemptions.
In its manifesto, the Conservative Party also promises to spend at least an additional £8bn on the NHS by 2020, which it will use to implement NHS England’s Five Year Forward View. It intends to continue piloting new approaches to health and social care, such as the devolution settlement in Greater Manchester that will see the region take full control of its NHS budget. The party promises that everyone over 75 years of age will get a same-day GP appointment if they need one and that appointments will be available seven days a week. The Conservatives say they will also continue to invest in the Cancer Drugs Fund and implement the findings of the Innovative Medicines and Medical Technology Review.
Labour confirms that it will repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012. It also intends to recruit 8,000 more GPs and 20,000 more nurses, paying for this through its proposed ‘mansion tax’ on properties worth more than £2m, tackling tax avoidance and a levy on tobacco companies. It promises that patients will be able to see a GP within 48 hours and that, by 2020, patients will not wait longer than a week for urgent cancer tests and results. Where private companies are involved in providing clinical services Labour says it will cap their profits.