Conservative manifesto makes welcome promises on staffing but falls short on social care, says NHS Confederation
Responding to the Conservative Party’s manifesto for the 2019 General Election, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said: “As the Conservatives accept, investing in the NHS is a key priority, but if elected, they will need to do more to help fill the 100,000 vacancies in England. The pledge to bring in 50,000 more nurses is encouraging, but of course, this will take time. Reinstating bursaries is the right thing to do and will be welcomed by our members, but training new nurses takes time. We need to see sustained action over several years to put this right.
“Likewise, an additional 6,000 GPs and 6,000 primary care professionals would be a real boon, but they must come from somewhere, either through years of training or from overseas.
“We welcome the promise of an urgent review of the crisis in pensions among senior clinical staff. Longer term, we continue to believe that the tapered annual allowance should be scrapped.
“After workforce, NHS leaders are clear that the growing social care crisis and historic underinvestment in our buildings, IT and other key infrastructure are the greatest threats to improving care and transforming services.
“The proposed increases in capital are welcome, but the Conservatives will need to go further and make sure that all parts of the country benefit from this extra funding. This cannot be restricted to investing in hospitals alone, as vital mental health and community services also need major upgrades in technology and buildings.
“And we finally need to see decisive action on social care – this has been ducked by the Conservatives and other political parties for far too long. We support the short-term funding increases outlined in the manifesto, but it falls well short of the secure, long-term funding that is required.
“Everyone who cares about social care in England is frustrated and fed up with the past political machinations and lack of action from successive governments. This election, we have some serious commitments, with the Lib Dems and the Conservatives promising they will work to deliver cross-party consensus and with Labour committed to free personal care. These pledges mean the next government will be committed to producing a sustainable long-term solution – and they will be held to account for that, no ifs, no buts.”