As the ballot day is approaching rapidly, the NHS remains more than ever at the centre of these general elections. Among the challenges facing the future government, the funding called for in the NHS Five Year Forward View has turned the Health issue into a political football.
Speaking to the BBC on the subject, Sir David Nicholson, former Chief Executive of NHS England, has also entered the debate, warning of a 'substantial financial problem'. While emphasising that the money is needed as soon as possible, he also invited the Labour Party to join the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats in pledging the £8 billion per year needed. This call follows one made few days earlier by Lord Kerslake who warned of 'immediate financial challenges' within the NHS.
Criticising top-down reorganisation of the NHS by the current Conservatives Party, the Labour manifesto has reiterated its commitment to 'whole person care' while committing to one-to-one maternity care, along with the establishment of a time to care funding scheme. The latter would amount to £2.5 billion per year and is intended to pay for an extra 200,00 nurses, 8,000 GPs and 3,000 midwives. However, the party has not pledged the £8 billion called for in the NHS Five Year Forward View, stating the possibility of other adjustments as a solution.
Confirmed earlier by George Osborne, the Conservatives Party's manifesto, launched on the 14th of April, includes a commitment to £8 billion a year. Furthermore, the current party in power also confirmed its guarantee to 7 days access to NHS, same day GP for the patients over 75 and the right to a named GP.
The Green Party has revealed its plan 'to end health service austerity' as well as 'the creeping privatisation of the NHS'. The party promises £20 billion per year by 2020, the restoration of primary care spending to 11% of the budget, £9 billion a year to free deliver social care at the point of use and the abolition of competition within the NHS.
The Newly formed NHA Party has also issued its manifesto promising to fill the £30 billion gap by 2020. The scheme is to be started immediately and funded through a rise in income taxes. The party also reiterated its intention to repeal the Health and Social Care Act. UKIP has pledged £3 billion a year to the NHS, plus an extra £1.2 billion a year on social care. Going further, the party also intend to push for a Bill that would restrict access to NHS services for migrants without health insurance. Finally, the Liberal Democrats Party has made the NHS one of its top 5 priorities while fully committing to the £8 billion a year needed to bridge the financial gap within the NHS. #Election 2015Not only the NHS is set to remain at the centre of the coming elections, but the elected government is also likely to feel the pressure. A recent analysis by the Financial Times has revealed that funding will be urgently needed in order to avoid a crisis. The findings are also likely to explain the reasons behind the decision of the NHS to delay the publication of its final accounts for 2014-2015 until after the elections. Regardless of all the pledges, It seems it will only be after the 7th of may that will be uncovered how far into the red have gone the hospitals.