David Cameron has given a speech today to launch the Conservative Party's health manifesto.
Over three years ago Cameron spelled out his priorities in three letters – NHS. Since then, we have consistently fought to protect the values the NHS stands for and have campaigned to defend the NHS from Labour’s cuts and reorganisations.
As the party of the NHS, we will never change the idea at the heart of our NHS – that healthcare in this country is free at the point of use and available to everyone based on need, not ability to pay. Labour promised to save the NHS but today, despite the massive increase in spending, the gap in health outcomes between the UK and the rest of Europe has actually widened.
A decade of top-down, bureaucratic mismanagement has consistently undermined the professionalism and motivation of NHS staff and skewed NHS priorities away from patient care, creating a culture where ticking boxes is more important than giving patients the treatment they need. We can’t go on with an NHS that puts targets before patients.
We understand the pressures the NHS faces. In recognition of its special place in our society, we are committed to protecting health spending in real terms – we will not make the sick pay for Labour’s Debt Crisis. But that doesn’t mean the NHS shouldn’t change. When you’re more likely to die of cancer in Britain than most other countries in Europe – and when the number of managers in the NHS is rising almost three times as fast as the number of nurses – the question isn’t whether the NHS should change, it’s how the NHS should change.
We have a reform plan to make the changes the NHS needs. Our reform plan, detailed in this Draft Manifesto, is based on the methods of the post-bureaucratic age – decentralisation, accountability and transparency.