In the last few weeks I have listened to many people locally who have worked or are currently employed in the NHS, as well as residents who have used our local health services as patients, and here are a few of their comments:
Local Comments on the NHS
• The treatment in emergency and for acute conditions locally is excellent, but there are issues with staffing levels for patient care and the rehabilitation of the elderly after hospital treatment.
• Availability of GP appointments is a worry.
• The growth of immigration has lead to an enormous strain on our health service.
• The focus on targets has led to costly and artificial prioritising and resources being put in the wrong areas.
• There are too many managers and not enough front line staff.
• There are still a lot of inefficiencies in the NHS. The private sector could help the NHS with better financial management.
All of these issues are ones which the Conservatives have been addressing in the last parliament, and our manifesto. Yet Labour would have you believe they are the party which you can trust with the NHS – so let’s look at the facts:
NHS Five Year Forward View
We are committed to implement the NHS’s own plan to improve health care even further – the Five Year Forward View. This sets out a gap between projected costs and resources by 2020/21 of up to £30 billion. The NHS can make up the majority of this gap, around £22 billion, by working more efficiently and through improvements to preventive health to keep people healthier for longer. Labour will not fund the gap.
We will have increased spending on the NHS by £7.3 billion in real terms over five years
(from £109.3 billion in 2010/11 to £116.6 billion in 2015/16).
We will spend £8 billion more for the NHS in real terms the next five years compared with Labour’s £2.5 billion
Labour planned to spend £12.5 billion LESS on the NHS in real terms over the life of this Parliament. (Ed Miliband and Ed Balls called the coalition’s plans to increase spending on the NHS ‘’irresponsible’’).
Staff costs are the biggest driver of rising operating costs. Spending on temporary staff continues to rise. This started after the shocking investigation into deaths at Mid Staffs and the issues of understaffing under Labour’s watch. We agree that current high levels of agency staffing should be seen as an interim solution to ensure patient safety, and so we have ensured investment in more nurses to tackle this in the longer term.
There are now 9,500 more doctors and 6,900 more nurses looking after patients than in 2010 and improved in an NHS that is more efficient, and patient-centred. : fewer managers chasing arbitrary targets means 553 more doctors in Yorkshire and the Humber than under Labour.
We promise a guarantee that over-75s will get same-same day access to a GP, and we will ensure that the most vulnerable in society are better supported in the community, helping reduce unnecessary visits to A&E.
There are more than 1,000 more GPs now than in 2010. We are also increasing the proportion of medical students going on to become GPs, and have committed to train 5,000 more GPs by 2020.
A Seven Day Health Service 8am – 8pm
Our £50 million GP access fund already covers more than 1,100 practices and improves access for 7.5 million people. Early evidence shows this has helped reduce A&E attendances. By March next year, a further £100 million will support a further 1,417 practices across the country – meaning 10 million more people with increased access to their GP services.
We want to you to be able to see a GP in the evening or at the weekend, when it’s convenient to you, because illness doesn’t just happen from 9-5, Monday – Fridays. By 2020 we want this for everyone, with hospitals properly staffed with a consultant, especially for urgent and emergency care, so that everyone will have access to the NHS services they need. We will also ensure that diagnostic labs have the same availability, giving patients quicker access to information and advice on their condition, making better use of existing equipment and facilities.
We will break down the barriers in how care is provided
• between family doctors and hospitals,
• between physical and mental health, and
• between health and social care.
As we live longer, and 1 in 5 of us in this country today will live to be 100, a more holistic approach in our health service is essential. Combining health and social care budgets is an important development which the Conservatives have introduced in this Parliament, and is the right thing to do to ensure seamless care, in particular for the growing elderly population.
We are committed to a more efficient NHS, giving taxpayers better value for money. Between 2010 and 2012, the NHS averaged 2.7 per cent productivity increases – the equivalent to gaining an extra 50,000 doctors. We will ensure the NHS has a clear strategy to realise more productivity gains.
Where Labour do run the NHS – in Wales – they have cut funding. The Welsh NHS budget has had a real terms reduction in funding, from £6.3 billion in 2010/2011 to £6.0 billion in 2012/13. Patients wait longer than those in England for treatment, at A&Es, for ambulances, and for diagnostic tests.
Labour abolished named GP and fragmented out of hours care. Patients need to be able to talk to a doctor who knows about them, and their condition. The 2004 contract also led to 90 per cent of GPs stopping giving out of hours care.
Under Labour, private providers were paid 11% more than NHS providers for the same treatment and their PFI (private finance initiative) deals are still costing the taxpayer £1 billion a year in repayments. Andy Burnham signed PFI contracts that will cost the NHS £300 billion. Labour also wasted over £8 billion on the failed IT project.
Labour’s promise of a 48 hour appointment target to see a GP is a gimmick they can’t afford and would make it harder to see a GP. Labour promised £100 million to meet this – doctors say it would cost £3 billion.
So who do you trust to fund the NHS properly?
Labour promise an immediate injection of funds, but we know that they cannot raise the money they promise to spend on the NHS. Lord Mandelson says their homes tax won’t raise what they say in: ‘a month of Sundays.’ Ed Balls’s office has confirmed that any money from new taxes won’t be available until halfway through the next Parliament.
We say you can fund the NHS with a strong and growing economy – that’s what we’ve done over the past five years, and what we’ll go again.
The Choice on May 7th
We are putting safety, stability and security of funding at the top of our list of priorities and through our careful stewardship of the economy, we want to work towards making the NHS a full seven day a week service, delivering the efficiencies and productivity that will enable everyone equal access to a quality service, free at point of delivery. So if you want continued improvement and reform within a stable NHS, with a focus on staying healthy and independent living rather than on simply treating the sick, you should vote Conservative on May 7th