General Health
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    What Each Political Party Is Saying About Healthcare During The UK General Election (July 2024)

    Are you curious about the stance each political party is taking on healthcare in the run-up to the UK General Election on the 4th of July 2024? With healthcare being a critical issue for many voters, it’s important to understand where the major parties stand on issues such as the NHS and medication access. In this article, we will break down the healthcare policies of the Labour Party, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, and Reform UK so you can be aware of what you are voting for when you put your slip in the ballot box on July 4th.

    When is the UK general election in July 2024?

    The UK general election will take place on July the 4th 2024. The deadline for registering to vote has already passed. When you go to vote, it is imperative that you take a form of photo identification with you otherwise you will not be able to place your vote.

    Downing Street, London

    What does each political party say about UK healthcare in their manifesto?

    Prior to the election, every political party will set forward their policies in a manifesto. The manifesto covers a range of topics, including healthcare. Below is a summary of what each of the major parties are saying about healthcare during this election campaign.

    It's important to remember that the policies outlined in party manifestos represent best-case scenarios and may not be fully achieved once in office due to various challenges and constraints.

    Labour

    Key Information

    Labour's healthcare plans for the upcoming UK General Election focus on building “an NHS fit for the future”. The key elements of their plan include:

    • Cut NHS waiting times: Deliver an extra two million NHS operations, scans, and appointments every year, equating to 40,000 more appointments every week.

    • Double the number of cancer scanners: Introduce a new ‘Fit For the Future’ fund to double the number of CT and MRI scanners, allowing earlier diagnosis of cancer and other conditions, which can save lives.

    • Dentistry Rescue Plan: Tackle the crisis in NHS dentistry with a rescue plan that provides 700,000 more urgent dental appointments. 

    • 8,500 additional mental health staff: Recruit an additional 8,500 new staff to treat children and adults, bringing waiting times down and intervening earlier. Establish Young Futures hubs to provide open access mental health services for children and young people in every community.

    • Return of the family doctor: Train thousands more GPs, guarantee a face-to-face appointment for all who want one, and deliver a modern appointment booking system to end the 8am scramble. Bring back the family doctor by incentivising GPs to see the same patients for ongoing or complex conditions.

    Conservatives

    Key Information

    The Conservative Party's healthcare plans for the upcoming UK General Election include several initiatives aimed at improving the NHS and social care. Here are the main points:

    • Increased Funding: The Conservatives promise to continue increasing NHS spending above inflation each year.

    • Pandemic Recovery: The party aims to accelerate the NHS's recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on reducing waiting times for primary, elective, cancer, and emergency care. 

    • Long-Term Workforce Plan: By the end of the next Parliament, the Conservatives plan to add 92,000 more nurses and 28,000 more doctors to the NHS.

    • Social Care Reform: The Conservatives say they will support a high-quality and sustainable social care system.

    • Modernising Facilities: The party is committed to delivering 40 new hospitals by 2030 and investing more in out-of-hospital services. 

    • Dental Care: Their Dental Recovery Plan aims to unlock 2.5 million more NHS dental appointments and ensure new dentists work in the NHS for several years or repay their training costs.

    • Preventive Care and Major Conditions Strategy: The Conservatives will implement a Major Conditions Strategy to prevent and manage conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and mental ill-health.

    • Women's Health: Following the publication of the first-ever Women's Health Strategy, they plan to improve maternity care, expand women’s health hubs, and roll out fracture liaison services.

    • Efficiency and Transparency: The party aims to cut waste and bureaucracy in the NHS, reducing the number of managers and simplifying oversight and accountability.

    UK General Election 2024

    Liberal Democrats

    Key Information

    The Liberal Democrats' healthcare strategy for the upcoming UK General Election focuses on transforming the NHS and social care system to ensure universal access to high-quality healthcare:

    • Access and Timeliness: They promise everyone the right to see a GP within seven days, with urgent cases seen within 24 hours.

    • Dental Care: The manifesto aims to guarantee NHS dental access for all in need of urgent or emergency care.

    • Mental Health Services: They plan to establish mental health hubs in every community to provide early access to services.

    • Cancer Care: The Liberal Democrats pledge to improve cancer survival rates by ensuring 100% of patients start treatment within 62 days of urgent referral.

    • Public Health and Prevention: Their strategy includes investments in public health to increase healthy life expectancy by five years, focusing on preventive measures to reduce hospital admissions.

    • Healthcare Workforce: They propose enhancing healthcare staff capabilities by empowering pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and paramedics with expanded roles and prescribing rights.

    • Infrastructure and Accessibility: Plans include establishing a universal 24/7 GP booking system and creating a Strategic Small Surgeries Fund to sustain services in rural and remote areas.

    Reform UK

    Key Information

    Reform UK's healthcare plans for the upcoming UK General Election focus on major reforms to improve NHS outcomes and reduce waiting times. The key elements of their plan include:

    • Ending Doctor and Nurse Shortages: Reform UK proposes to retain existing NHS and social care staff and attract former staff back by exempting them from basic rate tax for three years.

    • Utilising Independent Healthcare Capacity: The party aims to leverage independent and not-for-profit healthcare providers in the UK and overseas.

    • Tax Relief on Private Healthcare: They propose a 20% tax relief on private healthcare and insurance to encourage the use of private services.

    • NHS Voucher Scheme: Reform UK plans to introduce a voucher system allowing NHS patients to seek private treatment if they face long waits for GP appointments, consultations, or surgeries. 

    • Improving Efficiency and Cutting Waste: Their reforms include extending operating theatre hours to weekends, improving rota planning, negotiating better prices through economies of scale, reviewing private finance contracts, and charging patients who miss appointments without notice. 

    • Saving A&E: They intend to cut A&E waiting times with a 'Pharmacy First, GP Second, A&E Last' campaign, offering tax incentives to new pharmacies and those hiring additional staff to ease the burden on emergency services.

    • Public Inquiry into Excess Deaths and Vaccine Harms: Reform UK calls for a public inquiry into excess deaths, which they claim are nearly as high as during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Key Takeaways:

    Labour Party's Focus on NHS Improvement:

    • Labour aims to reduce NHS waiting times with an additional two million operations, scans, and appointments annually.

    • They plan to double the number of cancer scanners for earlier diagnosis and provide 700,000 more urgent dental appointments.

    • Labour promises to recruit 8,500 more mental health staff and train thousands of new GPs to ensure better healthcare access.

    Conservative Party's Emphasis on Increased Funding and Modernisation:

    • The Conservatives pledge to increase NHS spending above inflation and add 92,000 nurses and 28,000 doctors by the end of the next Parliament.

    • They plan to build 40 new hospitals by 2030 and unlock 2.5 million more NHS dental appointments.

    • Their strategy includes a Major Conditions Strategy to manage conditions like cancer and heart disease, and a Women's Health Strategy to improve maternity care.

    Liberal Democrats' Commitment to Universal Access and Timeliness:

    • The Liberal Democrats promise everyone the right to see a GP within seven days, with urgent cases seen within 24 hours.

    • They aim to establish mental health hubs in every community and guarantee NHS dental access for all in need of urgent care.

    • Their plans include improving cancer survival rates and investing in public health to increase healthy life expectancy by five years.

    Reform UK's Proposed Major Reforms:

    • Reform UK proposes retaining and attracting NHS staff by exempting them from basic rate tax for three years and leveraging independent healthcare providers.

    • They suggest a 20% tax relief on private healthcare and insurance and introducing an NHS voucher scheme for private treatment if faced with long waits.

    • Their plan includes extending operating theatre hours, improving rota planning, and cutting A&E waiting times with a 'Pharmacy First, GP Second, A&E Last' campaign.

    Sources

    Build an NHS fit for the future – The Labour Party

    The Conservative and Unionist Party Manifesto 2024

    Liberal Democrat Manifesto 2024

    Our Contract with You - Reform UK

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