Health and social care election tracker
How did health and social care issues shape the political landscape in the run-up to the 2015 UK general election?
Think tanks call for a 'dose of realism' from parties
The chief executives of two leading health and care think tanks call for a ‘dose of realism’ from the parties about their NHS funding pledges. Writing jointly to the Guardian, Chris Ham of The King’s Fund and Nigel Edwards of the Nuffield Trust say that ‘promises of jam tomorrow are not enough’ given the immediate pressures facing the service. They also caution that the £8 billion quoted as the amount needed by the NHS is ‘the bare minimum’ needed to maintain standards of care.
NHA party manifesto promises £30 billion for NHS
The National Health Action Party launches its manifesto with a promise to fund the NHS in order to meet a predicted £30 billion gap by 2020. This includes the commitment to an immediate cash injection of £4.5 billion, to be funded by higher income tax.
The manifesto reiterates the party’s commitment to support a bill that would repeal the Health and Social Care Act, ending competition in the NHS and restoring the Health Secretary’s responsibility to provide a comprehensive health service in England.
Health policy a central issue on Rochester and Strood by-election trail
Health is a high-profile issue in the Rochester and Strood by-election, caused by the defection of Conservative MP Mark Reckless to UKIP. Politicians and commentators are watching events closely for an indication of the public’s priorities and mood ahead of the general election.
In an October poll, voters in the constituency identified the state of local NHS services as the most important issue facing them and their families, ahead of issues such as immigration, crime and employment.
Some of this debate has focused directly on the local hospital, Medway Maritime Hospital. This has been in special measures since July 2013, with regulators judging that it had made ‘no progress’ by July 2014.
A year to go to the election
With a year to go until the general election, comparatively little is known about how the party manifestos will shape up. All the main parties are currently consulting their members on the policies that will eventually make up their manifestos.
We know most about where Labour are heading – their health offer is likely to focus on their proposals for whole person care, although some significant questions remain about how this will be implemented and paid for. The Lib Dems are beginning to differentiate themselves from their coalition partners by setting out their own policy positions – expect more of this as polling day draws nearer. We know least about how the Conservative manifesto will shape up – the way their policy process works means that little will be revealed before their party conference in the autumn. Among the other parties, UKIP’s health policy remains a blank slate, other than a requirement for migrants and visitors to the UK to show proof of health insurance as a condition of entry, while the Green party have pledged to ‘restore the NHS to public ownership’ and introduce free personal care for older people. Finally, this election will see a new name on some ballot papers, with the National Health Action Party pledging to field up to 50 candidates.
Clive Peedell to stand against David Cameron in Witney
'If we carry on the way we are, we’re going to lose our National Health Service, there’s no doubt about that.'
Dr Clive Peedell, co-leader of the National Health Action Party, announces that he will stand against David Cameron in Witney, making him the first of up to 50 candidates the party have pledged to field at the election.