Conservative manifesto:  Tories pledge £8bn rise in NHS spending

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NHS spending per patient will rise in every year of the next parliament, the Conservatives have pledged.

A Tory government would increase overall spending on the health service by a minimum of £8 billion in real terms over the next five years, the party’s manifesto states.

The Conservatives would also make the issue of retaining the 140,000 NHS staff from European Union countries a "priority" in negotiations over Britain’s departure from  the EU.

The proposals came as part of an overarching pledge to "give the NHS the resources it needs", following widespread criticism by medics that the Government has failed to give the health service adequate funding as it seeks to create a "seven-day NHS".

However the plans drew an immediate reproach from the British Medical Association, which claimed the announcement of an extra £8 billion was simply "smoke and mirrors".

Launching her party’s election manifesto, Theresa May also pledged that a future Conservative government will embark on "the most ambitious programme of investment in buildings and technology the NHS has ever seen".  The document stated that the move would tackle the problem of patients being treated in "inadequate and antiquated facilities."

Under separate proposals,  the annual fee charged to migrant workers to cover their use of the NHS would triple to £600, with the charge to international students rising from £150 to £450.

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary

The manifesto also states that the Conservatives would recover the cost of medical treatment from people not registered in the UK, and ensure no NHS numbers are issued until a patient’s eligibility for treatment has been verified.

It says that NHS outcomes are "considerably better" than in the past.

It adds: "However, the founding intention for the NHS was to provide good levels of care to everyone, wherever they live. "This has not yet been achieved: there remain significant variations in outcomes and quality across services and across the country.

"We will act to put this right."

It calls for more transparency and "rapid corrective action" where there is clear evidence of poor care.

The Conservatives  will also require specific action to reduce infant and maternal deaths, which it says remain too high.

The manifesto said: "Our ambition is also to provide exceptional care to patients whenever they need it.

"That is why we want England to be the first nation in the world to provide a truly seven-day healthcare service." 

Responding to the proposals in the manifesto, Dr Mark Porter, chairman of the British Medical Association council, said: “The Conservatives have been in power for the last seven years, yet this manifesto will do nothing to reassure patients and NHS staff that they have the vision the NHS needs or will deliver the funding to ensure its survival.

“The extra £8bn touted in this manifesto for the NHS is smoke and mirrors – rather than extra money, this essentially extends the funding already promised in the 2015 spending review for another two years and falls far short of what is needed."

However Dr Porter added that it was encouraging to see that the Conservatives will seek assurances for EU staff working in the NHS as part of its Brexit negotiations.

General Election 2017 polling averages

 

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