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The General Election: what will it mean for health and social care?

Posted on 30/04/2015

The General Election is coming up fast, and one of the big topics for all the key parties is how they are going to manage health and social care needs going forward, especially with an ever-growing elderly population.

If you are unsure about who to vote for and health and social care is a big issue for you, then we have a roundup of the relevant policies for the main parties to help you make a decision.

As health and social care is a devolved power, some changes may not apply to the whole of the UK.

This is just an overview and you can get more information by reading each party’s full manifesto on their respective websites. There are also other parties in the running with their own polices.

Conservative

Increase spending on the NHS, and spend at least an additional £8 billion by 2020 to support the NHS’s own action plan, the Five Year Forward View.

Access to GPs and hospital care 7 days a week, with equal quality of care even at the weekends. Restore the right to a named GP, with appointments and repeat prescriptions routinely available online. Guaranteed same-day appointments for all over-75s who need them.

Integrate health and social care services through the Better Care Fund.

Continue funding into fighting cancer and the Cancer Drugs Fund, and finding a cure for dementia.

Increase support for unpaid carers, and guarantee that you won’t have to sell your home to fund residential social care.

Increase funding for mental health care and enforce access and waiting time standards.

Labour

Increase investment in the NHS to fund more nurses, GPs and midwives.

Guarantee a GP appointment within 48 hours, and on the same day for those who need it.

Cancer Treatment Fund to give patients access to the latest treatment. No more than a one-week wait for vital cancer tests by 2020.

Repeal the Health and Social Care Act and impose a cap on profits for private firms providing clinical services. 

Join up services from home to hospital.

Vulnerable older people, disabled people and those with complex needs to have more control over their lives with personal care plans, personal budgets where appropriate and a single, named person to coordinate their care.

Mental health given the same priority as physical health.

Cap the cost of care and end time-limited 15-minute visits. The normal setting for care for older people should increasingly be the home, and 5,000 new home-care workers will be recruited.

Improve the working life of care workers by stopping zero-hour contracts where regular hours are worked.

Liberal Democrat

£8 billion funding for the NHS by 2020, with the appropriate boost in funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland too.

Invest half the initial £1 billion in providing care at home and in the community.

Equal care for mental health. By increasing spending by £500 million a year by 2016/2017 with similar cash investments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Roll out access and waiting time standards.

Join up health and social care services, more personal budgets and tailored care plans.

Repeal any parts of the Health and Social Care Act that make NHS services vulnerable to forced privatisation. 

Better access to GPs and community care, with expended evening and weekend opening, phone and Skype appointments.

Introduce a Carer’s Bonus of £250 for carers looking after someone for 35 hours or more a week. Work to raise the amount you can earn before losing Carer’s Allowance from £110 to £150 a week.

Give the NHS a legal duty to identify carers and develop a Carer’s Passport to inform carers of their rights in the NHS.

UKIP

Additional £3 billion a year into the NHS to spend on frontline patient care.

8,000 more GPs by waiving university tuition fees for new medical students who work in Britain for five years after qualifying, and funding re-training for former GPs who wish to return to practice. 

Cut GP waiting times and allow GPs to spend more time seeing patient, by reducing admin tasks.

20,000 more nurses and 3,000 more midwives.

Trial GPs on duty in A&E 7 days a week to ease burden on emergency departments. 

Improved mental health services by increasing funding by £170 million annually.

Invest £130 million a year in researching and treating dementia by 2017.

Get tough on ‘health tourism’; insist that migrants and visitors who come to Britain have approved medical insurance. Only those with the permanent right to remain in the UK and have paid UK taxes for at least 5 years would be eligible for full NHS care services.

Invest £200 million to make parking free at English hospitals.

Fully integrate health and social care, and introduce a legally binding Dignity Code to improve standards of care.  Abolish 15-minute home visits, protect community services and maintain all benefits, such as free bus passes, winter fuel allowance and more.

No zero-hour contracts for NHS or third parties under contract. Payment for entire time on duty, including travel time.

Green

Repeal the Health and Social Care Act and introduce an NHS Reinstatement Bill.

Immediately increase the overall NHS budget by £12 billion a year, then increase by 1.2% annually leading to an overall increase in NHS budgets by about £20 billion by 2020.

Increase investment in mental health care and provide free dentistry, chiropody and prescriptions in England.

Provide free social care and free healthcare for older people, at an additional cost of £8 billion a year initially.

Provide free social care at end of life.

Provide accessible, local community health centres providing services and out-of-hours care. 

*Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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