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Tagged In:  Allied health, NHS

As the date for the 2017 General Election draws near, the major parties have been outlining their proposals for health and social care. Pledges include reducing waiting lists, scrapping hospital parking charges, continuing fast-track social work training schemes, and raising taxes to deliver more funding for health and social care. Improving mental health diagnosis and care is also on the agenda for most parties. In part one of our focus on health and social care, we focus on what the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are proposing.




Conservative


The Conservatives are proposing significant changes to social care funding in England. The party is proposing that people with assets of more than £100,000 would have to pay for their care but could defer payment until after their death. However, Prime Minister Theresa May later indicated the proposed changes will include an “absolute limit” on the money people will have to pay. A change that is planned is that the value of an elderly person’s property will now be included in the means test for care in their own home, meaning more people will be liable to contribute to the cost of being looked after. In terms of health, there will be a real terms increases in NHS spending reaching £8bn extra a year by 2022/23, changes to GP and hospital consultant contracts, the 95% four hour A&E target will be retained and foreign workers and overseas students will be charged more to cover the cost of NHS care.

Labour


The focus is more on health than social care with Labour saying the NHS will receive more than £30bn in extra funding over the next parliament with mental health budgets ring-fenced. There is a pledge to deliver safe staffing levels and reduce waiting lists, end hospital car parking charges, take a million people off NHS waiting lists by “guaranteeing access to treatment within 18 weeks” and scrap the NHS pay cap. Labour will ensure all children in secondary schools have access to a counselling service.
Labour say that free childcare hours will be extended to two-year-olds and “some” to one-year-olds and it will abolish the so-called “rape clause”, which restricts child tax credits to the first two children in a family. It means mothers who have a third child as a result of rape can be exempted.

Liberal Democrats


The headline in the Lib Dems manifesto is to add 1p in the pound on income tax to raise £6bn for NHS and social care services. 

The Lib Dems say they will limit the amount elderly people have to pay for social care and will guarantee the rights of all NHS and social care service staff who are EU nationals to stay in the UK. The manifesto pledged to “continue to promote and invest” in both the Frontline and Think Ahead fast-track social work training schemes to attract exceptional graduates into children’s social work and encourage high-achieving graduates to pursue a career in mental health social work. Other plans include transforming mental health care and waiting times, examining the case for introducing a dedicated service for children and young people based on the Australian ‘headspace’ initiative, ending the public sector pay freeze for NHS workers and reinstating student nurse bursaries.

In addition the Lib Dems will raise the amount people earn before losing Carer’s Allowance from £110 to £150 a week, promote easier access to GPs and prevent practice closures, make HIV prevention available on the NHS, and tackle childhood obesity.
The party’s longer-term objective will be to bring together NHS and social care into one seamless service, leading to single place-based budgets for health and social care services by 2020.

Look out for part two of our blog  summarising the manifestos of Plaid Cymru, The Green Party, UKIP and The SNP. 

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