Health Policies in the UK

This is not a comprehensive account of the health policies of the various parties, just some selected highlights.

Do you think the Conservative party, the Labour party or the Liberal Democrats has the best policies on healthcare? IPSOS Mori data

Labour Party Health Policy

Labour Leadership Contest 2010 Health policies of the candidates.   Your Britain – Labour Party Policy discussions – the Labour Party has a fairly public process for the production of policies for the next manifesto. Formal policies should be approved by the party conference in September 2014.  Our Labour Health Policy page has links to current and past documents.

Conservative Party Health Policy

Tells us, among other things, that “The NHS is our country’s most precious asset.” (I wonder what they think that means?) and that ” We are increasing the budget available to the NHS every year.” although this last claim is officially untrue.

  •  We are increasing the budget available to the NHS every year.
  •  We are giving doctors and nurses the freedom to design services for their patients.
  •  We are giving patients more power over how and where they are treated.
  •  We are delivering lower waiting times, fewer hospital infections, more doctors, and the cancer drugs that patients need.

Liberal Democrat Health Policy

Tells us “We are increasing the health budget every year and making sure people get better, faster treatment in the NHS.”  They don’t mention that they give some of the budget back to the Treasury each year, so I suppose the claim is true.

  • We believe mental health should not be ignored or stigmatised, but should be taken as seriously as physical health.

Liberal Democrat Health Policy at their Spring Conference, Sheffield 2011

Four Key Health Policies for Liberal Democrats

Scottish National Party Health Policy

  • an ongoing effort to ensure clean, safe hospitals, well trained and appreciated staff and modern facilities across the country.

Paid Cymru Health Policy

  • ended the internal market between the provider and commissioner of services in the NHS, improving patient care;
  • secured the creation of seven more efficient Local Health Boards instead of twenty two different local authority health departments;

Green Party Health Policy

  • The Green Party think it’s unfair that public money is wasted on botched privatisation schemes.
  • It’s unfair that quality of care suffers when hospitals and surgeries are treated like profit-driven businesses rather than public services.
  • Decentralise healthcare responsibility to local government, ensure that minimum service levels and national guidelines are provided to prevent a postcode lottery, and oppose further health service centralisation.
  • Keep the health service free – abolish prescription charges, reintroduce free eye tests and NHS dental treatment for all, and ensure NHS chiropody is widely available.

Democratic Unionist Party Health Policy

  • Reconfigure provision to shift the 25-30% of care currently carried out inappropriately in hospitals, into the community- patients must be treated in the right place at the right time by the right people, not over-relying on the most specialised and expensive services.
  • Overhaul commissioning to have budgets held at local level and all decisions on non-regional services taken locally- local commissioning with strong clinician involvement across the water has improved primary care services, made prescribing more efficient and created community-based alternatives to hospital care.

Sinn Fein Health Policy

  • As a party committed to cherishing all the children of the nation equally, Sinn Féin believes addressing the continued inequalities in health and in access to healthcare requires a radical republican approach underpinned by rights-based governance.
  • Our vision is of a seamless all-Ireland health service based on universal public provision – that is, one that provides full equality of access, and that is free at the point of delivery as of right.
  • Sinn Féin has resolved to create a democratically accountable national health service that is responsive to the diverse health needs of the population as a whole, and that is flexible enough to provide the highest quality care appropriate to the needs of each individual.

Alliance Party of Northern Ireland Health Policy

  •  Alliance is conscious of the inadequate system of social care of our senior citizens in Northern Ireland, as in the rest of the United Kingdom. We have a longstanding commitment to free personal care. It is wrong that people are forced into selling their homes to fund their care.
  • reduce reliance on accident and emergency services – too many people, due to a lack of awareness, use A&E as an alternative to visiting their GP, using an out-of hours doctor or a visiting a minor injuries unit;
  • focus on improving public health (quality of diet, exercise, smoking etc) to ease demand and cost pressures;
  • facilitate the better use of technology e.g. to support people in their homes, monitor and manage prescriptions and remote care;
  • The Alliance Party believes that Mental Health should be placed at the core of the public health agenda.

Social Democratic and Labour Party Health Policy

  • We believe better organisation in the NHS would mean shorter waiting lists, more hospital beds, more efficient A&E departments and more appropriate staff in frontline services.
  • We want additional resources dedicated to the prevention and treatment of cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, obesity and diabetes, which are among the largest causes of mortality in Northern Ireland.
  • The SDLP views increases in these conditions as partly caused by environmental factors such as poor air quality, low-cost, low-standard food, a poorly-designed natural environment and over-reliance on cars, which limits walking and cycling. We will continue to highlight that strong environmental – and therefore health – protection is crucial.

UK Independence Party Health Policy

  • Direct the majority of health care spending to elected County Health Boards, making spending decisions directly accountable to the public locally.
  • Dramatically cut the Department of Health and bring in professional procurement skills to reduce the huge amounts of money wasted in procurement and resource allocation.
  • Prioritise UK taxpayers and citizens, ending health tourism by requiring all those without entitlement to pay in advance.
  • Restore traditional nursing, especially the non-university-trained State Enrolled Nurses or equivalent.
  • Engender a Universal Duty of Care to ensure that everyone is responsible for reporting inadequate care and driving up standards.

 British National Party Health Policy

  • Replace 100,000 NHS bureaucrats with doctors, nurses and dentists;
  • Bring hospital cleaning back in-house and make high cleanliness a top priority;
  • End the scandal of foreign health tourism;
  • Train and pay to retain British doctors, nurses and dentists instead of looting the Third World of staff who are desperately needed in their home countries;
  • Revitalise the healthcare system by boosting staff and bed numbers, slashing unnecessary bureaucracy and by addressing the root cause of low recruitment and retention — low pay.
  • More emphasis must be placed on healthy living with greater understanding of sickness prevention through physical exercise, a healthier environment and improved diets.

 National Health Action Party

  •  Base health and social care on fair ethical principles and due process and governance
  • De-commercialise the health system, with co-operation not markets.
  • Abolish the hugely expensive purchaser/provider split and wasteful competition.
  • Increase the patients’ and citizens’ participation in the organisation and provision of healthcare
  • Reduce the influence of the costly management consultancy industry
  • Improve the integration of community and hospital care within the NHS, as well as between the NHS and social care
  • Promote innovative public health approaches to health improvement
  • Reform the current unfair, overly complex and unsustainable social care system and to promote a fair, effective and efficient health and social care programme integrated with sound public health and just economic policies