The divisions between Labour and Conservative over health policy are not as great as they were in the past.. The Conservatives, however, propose to go much further than Labour has in relying on choice and markets to increase quality and efficiency and introducing more private providers. They also plan to establish an independent NHS Board, abolish targets and make the Secretary of State responsible for public health rather than the NHS.

Official Conservative Health Policy 2010

Equity and Excellence – Liberating the NHS The Coalition white paper analysed

David Cameron with a syringe

Choice, competition, quality, targets and markets

“Free clinicians from a top down structure of process targets”   GPs to have “real budgets to manage the costs of their patients care”.

“ Accountability for results measured in patient outcomes…with part of GP pay dependent on the results of their patients treatment, they will be able to keep any savings and use them to reinvest in care”. Outcome measures which measure the whole of the treatment.

Open up the NHS to allow “any willing provider to compete to offer NHS services”…move to a tariff where no hospital can expect to be paid more than the tariff.  Increase the number of providers in order to drive up quality. “We believe we can make a big improvement in NHS performance within the structures that already exist. Again, we’ll achieve this through decentralisation – breaking open the state monopoly and bringing real freedom and competition to local services.”

“Instead of bureaucratic accountability there will be democratic accountability. The boss won’t be some pen-pusher at a distant PCT but the woman who needs a cataract operation, the parent of the child in A&E, the man given physiotherapy as an outpatient after a stroke.

That’s because all the information on hospitals’ performance will be published online, in detail from the success they’ve had with heart transplants, to cancer survival rates, to how patients rate their quality of care. Not only will all this information be online for everyone to see – but it will be backed up by real patient choice about where they go to get their treatment.

Choice and transparency – it is such a powerful combination.

When patients not only have the power to choose where they get treated but also the information to make an informed choice, then hospitals and GPs that don’t provide good care will have to raise their game.”

Tory pledge on NHS targets might not hit the spot HSJ December 2009

Full-blown market could bankrupt the NHS, Alliance chief warns

Conservative health policy: déjà vu? John Appleby

Public Health

Conservative Party’s green paper on public health – A Healthier Nation.

Tories to reshape QOF to focus on public health outcomes

A new priority to public health reform with separate funding.. and a focus on .. individual, family and community responsibility.  Tackle the standards of living, behavioural patterns and social norms which underpin inequalities.

Tories would allocate NHS money to public health boards

Funding

“Real terms increases in NHS spending”   Funding for 45,000 more single rooms over 5 years.

“Slash the cost of health service central bureaucracy by a third during the next Parliament, cutting that bill by £1.5 billion within four years.”

“immediately stop the proposed closures of vital local services that are happening under this Government”

The Conservatives’ incredible health policy

Rationing

Reform the way drugs are priced so that all new treatments which are clinically effective are made available

Sources

Andrew Lansley bankrolled by private healthcare provider Jan 2010

Tories plan to place GPs at core of new NHS market Pulse Oct 2009

Former health secretary calls for ‘sunlight’ in Tory health policy

Health Service Journal 8th October 2009

Health Policy Paper – Outcomes not Targets June 2008

Renewal – our plan for NHS improvement Sept 2008

“The patient will see you now, doctor” Sept 2007

Public and Patient Involvement

Tories pledge NHS scrutiny role Local Government Chronicle Jan 2010

How would Conservative proposals for Health Watch differ from LINKs when operating at a local level?  Is it envisaged that LINKs would be abolished by a Conservative government?

 “There have been three different mechanisms for patients and members of the public to engage and involve themselves in the development of NHS services in less than four years.  We believe that mechanisms for engaging patients in their health services need to endure so that confidence and brand awareness increase over time, and the experience of those who operate these mechanisms is retained.  We have therefore committed to avoid unnecessary organisational upheaval and retain LINKs as the foundation of our policies for patient and public involvement in health at a local level.

However, we are concerned that LINKs in their current setup are too weak and will have too few powers to command the confidence of patients and the public.  We will therefore give LINKs additional powers of inspection, and the ability to act as advocates for patients who complain about NHS services.

We will also establish a national consumer voice for patients: HealthWatch.  HealthWatch will provide support to patients at a national level and leadership to LINKs at a local level.  It will also incorporate the functions of the Independent Complaints Advisory Body.  Health watch will have a clear statutory right to be consulted over guidelines issues nationally concerning the care NHS patient should receive, and over decisions which affect how NHS care is provided in an area.”

Conservative think tanks and views on health

Not all of these organisations are officially related to the Conservative Party, but they seem to have at least some influence on it.

Illustration above from My David Cameron

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