The 2024 General Election - Each Party's Healthcare Pledges Unpacked

14 June  •  NHS
The 2024 General Election - Each Party's Healthcare Pledges Unpacked

With the 2024 general election on the horizon, the UK’s political parties have released manifestos outlining their prospective policies. This is a big year in politics, with forecasters predicting a Labour win for the first time since 2010. One key area that all parties have focused on is their healthcare pledges, which look to support a struggling healthcare industry with major investment and innovation across the board. Although Labour is the strong favourite, other parties - including the Conservatives, Lib Dems, Green Party and Reform - are in contention to win the upcoming election. So, in this article, we’ll take a look at what these parties are pledging to do for healthcare in their manifestos.

Conservative Party

The Conservative Party has placed a strong emphasis on improving the healthcare industry across the board with their manifesto pledges. This includes tackling the major staffing issues found in the NHS by recruiting 92,000 more nurses and 28,000 more doctors by the end of the next Parliament. They have also pledged to support dentistry by adding 40 % more training placements for dentists and dental professionals.

The Conservative’s big announcement is the NHS long-term workforce plan, which will move care out of hospitals and into local communities. To do this, they have pledged to expand pharmacy services to include menopause support, contraception and chest infection treatments. They also aim to build and modernise up to 250 GP surgeries around areas with new housing. The last part of this pledge involves building 50 more community diagnostic centres, particularly in less well-served areas across the UK.

Labour Party

Labour’s manifesto comprehensively outlines its aims in healthcare, which includes supporting the NHS by cutting waiting times for patients. They want to provide 40,000 more appointments to patients every week as part of its six ’first steps for change’. They have also pledged to introduce shared waiting lists to help pool resources between different hospitals as a way to beat the backlog.

Investment in healthcare is key to these changes, which is why Labour has announced doubling the number of cancer scanners available. This is great news, as the UK is at serious risk of a cancer timebomb. There will also be greater regulation of NHS managers to help organise all of these changes. Other aspects of healthcare in the UK, such as mental health and child health, will be boosted with new action plans and investments. One of the biggest statements made involves a Dentistry Rescue Plan that will bring in more dentists when they’re needed most.

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats have announced a few big promises in their manifesto for the healthcare industry. Long known for their lofty aspirations, the Lib Dems aim to give everyone in the UK the right to see a GP within 7 days (or 24 hours for emergencies) by bringing in 8,000 more GPs. They also aim to boost cancer survival rates across the board and introduce a 100% guarantee that patients start cancer treatment within 62 days of an urgent referral. Alongside this, the Lib Dems want to introduce free personal care and a workforce plan for social care.

One of the ways they intend to prop up the NHS is by implementing a 10-year capital investment plan for hospitals and primary care. They hope that, over 10 years, the investment will be able to support all of the planned changes and improvements established in its manifesto. They will also tackle the dentistry issue in the UK by promising that everyone will have access to an NHS dentist for urgent and emergency care.

Reform Party

The Reform Party is looking to reform many aspects of healthcare in the UK. Although scant on specifics, they want to invest £17 billion into healthcare and transition towards more independent healthcare facilities. The headline manifesto pledge is that they want all NHS and social care staff to pay a zero basic rate of tax for 3 years to attract and retain key employees in healthcare.

Alongside leaning into independent healthcare providers such as Nuffield Health, Reform wants to offer tax relief of 20% for all private healthcare and insurance policies. Another key pledge is to provide NHS patients with a private treatment voucher if they can’t get a GP appointment within 3 days, a consultant for 3 weeks or an operation for 9 weeks.

Green Party

In stark contrast to Reform’s push for privatisation, the Green Party has committed itself to funding a fully public health and social system in the UK. Their manifesto outlines a year-on-year reduction in waiting lists, rapid access to GPs and an immediate boost to NHS staff pay. The Greens have determined that it will cost NHS England £8 billion in the first year, totalling £28 billion by 2030, to reach these goals.

Alongside these figures, the Greens have stated they intend to spend a further £20 billion in funding primary medical care, dentistry and public health budgets for things like drug and alcohol treatment. They are also the only party to push for a change to the country’s drug laws by focusing on an evidence-based approach to legislation.

The 2024 General Election Looks Promising for Healthcare

All of the political party manifestos have spent a good portion of time discussing how they will tackle the issues found in the UK healthcare system. However, they are all going about it in their own, unique way. With the election looming, it’s an exciting time for the industry and the country as a whole, but what remains to be seen is who will come out on top and deliver results.

Related Articles

No articles We can't find any news articles matching your criteria.
Beat The Backlog
Locums Urgently Needed!