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Battle lines are drawn – PR Week Post #25


January 6, 2010

(Click here for the original post on PR Week)

As the majority of us have been enjoying the holiday break and trying to avoid thinking about our new year’s resolutions and impending diets, the policy writers at the Conservative headquarters have been busy putting the final touches on the Party’s new health manifesto.

I don ‘t plan to summarise the entire report (you can read it for yourself in all its blue and green glory athttp://www.conservatives.com/Policy/Where_we_stand/~/media/Files/Downloadable%20Files/DraftHealthManifestopdf.ashx) so below is a brief review of some of the more interesting points covered in its three main areas of ‘promise’.

You won’t see anywhere within the document exactly how these promises will be delivered (especially in the context of the massive natonal budget deficit) but perhaps we can ask this question when the leaders debate live on TV (http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/dec/21/election-tv-debates) as the general election draws nearer (which could be even closer after today’s leadership wobble – live coverage athttp://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2010/jan/06/pmqs-houseofcommons).

Anyway, back to the manifesto:

1. Through a patient-centred NHS, there are plans to: Get rid of centrally-dictated target setting; put patients in charge of their own records; create an independent NHS board to allocate resources to different parts of the country and make access to the NHS more equal.

2. Create a more accountable and accessible NHS where: Hospitals will not be paid in full for a treatment which leaves a patient with an avoidable infection; reform is applied to how drug companies are paid for NHS medicines so that any cost-effective treatment can be made available through the NHS and; NHS Direct will take on a different guise to give people access to a doctor or nurse when the local family doctor’s surgery isn’t open.

3. Focus on improving the nation’s public health by: Turning the Department of Health into a Department of Public Health; providing separate public health funding to local authorities which will be accountable for – and paid according to – how successful they are in improving their local communities’ health; introducing a new per-patient funding system for all hospices and other providers of palliative care and allow everyone (on retirement) to protect their homes from being sold to fund residential care costs by paying a one-off insurance premium of £8,000.

Sadly, we will have to wait to see the Labour Party’s manifesto but in the meantime, they have launched a “What Conservative said what in 2009” quiz. If you are at a loose end, you can participate online athttp://www.labour.org.uk/.  Enjoy…