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NHS Confederation responds to Conservative Party manifesto

The Conservative Party's manifesto has some welcome pledges but there remain concerns around capital funding and workforce.

Responding to the Conservative Party’s manifesto Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:

“It is heartening to hear the Prime Minister himself pledge to provide the NHS with a real-terms funding rise every year if he forms the next Government as revenue funding remained largely flat this year. But the key question is whether this commitment will come with stringent performance or productivity targets. 

"The NHS is already struggling in the face of rising demand, ongoing industrial action and a difficult financial position – so we would be very concerned if more pressure was piled on to health service leaders and their teams.

“Likewise, the promise of a continued rise in doctors and nurses is welcome and we are very pleased to see the increase in clinical staff. But there is a difference between having more staff and having enough staff and clearly there is still a gap between the workforce the NHS has and the demand it is facing. That is why it is so important that the next government commits to funding and delivering the NHS Long-Term Workforce Plan.

“Moving care closer to home is the right direction of travel if we want to place the NHS on a more sustainable footing – it is often best for patients and the most cost-effective. But as our recent survey showed, many leaders are having to make very difficult decisions to cut clinical or administrative staff to balance their books. We must not let short-term pressures jeopardise the ambition to expand the NHS workforce and shift more care into the community. 

“Pledges to cut managers may grab headlines but the NHS is under-managed compared to international health systems and other parts of the UK workforce. Cutting 5,500 managers may save cash but this could pile more paperwork on to clinicians, when they should be given more time to look after their patients.

“While we welcome any initiative that could help to reduce demand on general practice, including a review of the fit note process, the deeper problem here is that people are sicker than they were with more complex healthcare needs. It is also good to see the commitment to bring forward the Tobacco and Vapes Bill and Major Conditions Strategy, though it is frustrating that they have been delayed for so long.

“We also welcomed the £3.4 billion in capital funding to digitise the NHS, plans to modernise GP surgeries and build 40 new hospitals. But the funding falls short of the extra £6.4 billion increase we are calling for to repair crumbling estates and replace out-of-date equipment. Our members have made it clear that more capital is the key requirement for boosting NHS productivity.”

Original article link: https://www.nhsconfed.org/news/nhs-confederation-responds-conservative-party-manifesto

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