The impact of a Tory victory on healthcare will only become evident in the forthcoming months. Here’s a quick look at what a Conservative election win could mean for healthcare.
- The Conservatives plan to spend at least an additional £8bn on NHS healthcare by 2020. In a Guardian article, George Osborne stated that the “Conservatives would ‘plug’ a £30bn per year funding gap by the end of the decade in a move to address concerns that the Tories have abandoned compassionate Conservatism“. Osborne went on to say that funding offered the NHS a chance for real improvement for example, guaranteeing over-75’s same-day access to a GP.
- Announced in June 2013, the £3.8bn Better Care Fund (BCF) is to support the transformation and integration of health and social care services to ensure local people receive better care.
- Reported by the Independent, just four days before the election, Tories’ election chief, Lynton Crosby’s and his firm CTF Partners presented a strategy paper and proposed targeting key government figures to enhance the “size, acceptability and profitability of the private healthcare market“. It added that the campaign’s long-term strategy should be “achieving decision-maker recognition that health investment in the UK can only grow by expanding the role and contribution made by the private sector”. Ed Miliband’s concerns for the NHS may not be unfounded and warned of the “stealth privatisation” if the Tories get elected. As an example of the rapid privatisation of healthcare, Virgin Care has expanded quickly and now provides various community and intermediary health services, with its biggest single contract worth £500m. Furthermore, large American companies are now circling the private sector and snapping up the cream of the crop. Mental health care providers, The Priory Group and Partnerships in Care (PIC) have already been bought by American companies with others in negotiation.
- In February 2015, George Osbourne announced that the £6bn health and social care budget would be taken over by Greater Manchester’s councils and health groups, to become the first English region to gain full control of its health spending, as part of an extension of devolved powers. This plan is to come in to force in 2016 and it is likely that there will further devolution of NHS spending with the Conservative party winning the election.
- The Conservative party’s manifesto proposes that they want England to become the first nation in the world to provide a 7 day NHS, and although some people are already receiving GP services 7 days a week, they want this for everyone by 2020.
- Improved choices about an individuals healthcare with the opportunity in the future to gain full access to personal electronic patient records to help provide greater transparency.