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The general election is fast approaching and I have not decided how to vote. My plan is to base my decision on the plans of the main parties manifestos for the future of the NHS and social care.

Working with the NHS means these are the policies that will affect me the most… also, it is as good a way as any to decide. Having shifted through the hundred, plus page manifestos I have put together a summary.

(Who knows what the parties will do once they have the mandate or whether they will have the money to do it.)

First a summary of what our current Conservative government will do if they are allowed another 5 years;

  1. Increase spending by £8bn over the next 5 years
  2.  Increase the number of doctors we are training
  3.  Invest heavily in upgrading current buildings and tech
  4. Remove barriers to the integration of care
  5. Develop a truly 7-day service

A little further digging into figures shows that the £8bn promise by the Conservatives may not be as good as it sounds. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has calculated that the planned increase is in line with the commitment laid out by the 2015 spending review, so nothing new there.

I am also a little concerned that there is no commitment to training more nurses. Nurses are the backbone of our NHS and the nurses we have are in short supply with many nearing retirement. An RCN study claims 50% of nurses are aged 45 or over and are eligible for early retirement in the next 10 years, worrying.

Their main opposition, Labour;

More money… 

  1. £30bn more for the NHS over the next 5 years
    • £250m children’s health fund
    • £8bn for social care budget
    • Significant investment in mental health budget especially child mental health services
    • Bursaries and funding for health-related degrees

…this would be funded by higher income tax for top 5%, increased tax on private medical procedures and halving the fees to management consultants.

  1. Scrap the pay cap
  2. Reverse privatisation
  3. FREE PARKING FOR EVERYONE!
  4. Integrate all care services to produce an overall super service

Labour’s manifesto seems expensive and at a little over a 1% increase, it still may not be enough. The Kings Fund have suggested that a minimum annual increase of 2% is required keep up with rising demand.

We also need to consider where the money is coming from? Is this a promise list that is totally unattainable?

And finally, the Lib Dems;

  1. Increase income tax by 1p creating £6bn annually to be spend on health and social Care
  2. Develop a dedicated health care tax
  3. Collaborate with all the parties on a big plan that looks beyond 5 years
  4. Scrap the cap
  5. Bring back bursaries for nurses
  6. Invest in mental health

The Lib Dems unlike the other parties are at least talking about developing a plan that has proper buy in from all the parties and looks beyond a 5-year government. I remain sceptical, if you locked cross-party politicians in a room for a year, would they agree on anything?

There is my summary, it is in no way a full or unbiased description and may have left you even more confused. It may be worth reading the manifestos yourself but it will take you a while so pop the kettle on first.

IndexR is a Healthcare App, helping doctors and nurses modernise the way they work. The App links Trusts directly to medical professionals cutting out the need for agencies and eliminating the considerable commission they charge saving cost for the NHS.

Find out more about IndexR and sign up

Written by IndexR’s Head of Community Growth (the opinions expressed are her own and not necessarily representative of IndexR).