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
- 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
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.