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Tuesday, 24 April, 2001, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
Conservative health policies
Dr Liam Fox, Shadow Health Secretary, outlined Conservative Health Policies
Dr Liam Fox, Shadow Health Secretary, outlined Conservative Health Policies
The Conservatives have set out in detail how they will change the health service if they win the next election

Main policy points

  • A commitment to the NHS, free at the point of delivery and funded from general taxation.

  • Matching Labour's spending, but spending it "better".

  • The NHS would be "depoliticised" and "decentralised".

  • An Exceptional Medicines Fund would be set up to pay for high-tech treatments, removing the "affordability criteria" from the decisions of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

  • Labour's waiting list initiative would be abolished and Patient's Guarantees, based on clinical assessments, introduced.

  • Employer-based health insurance schemes will be encouraged, and there will be an "umbrella scheme" run by the private sector so self-employed people can join a scheme.

    Organisational changes

  • Community health councils would be retained and strengthened.

  • The number of acute sector psychiatric beds will be increased.

  • All mixed-sex wards to close.

  • More stand-alone surgical units to be introduced.

  • Health authorities would be phased out.

    Treatment

  • Screening would be extended into new areas, such as the screening of Human Papillomavirus for cervical cancer and Troponin-I, which can tell whether chest pain is caused by coronary problems.

  • Doctors will have greater freedom in referring patients for treatment.

  • Public health will become the responsibility of the Secretary of State, rather than a junior minister.

  • The decline in care home numbers would be tackled, and new measures to fund long term care in nursing and residential homes introduced

  • There would be one regulatory framework for all sectors of healthcare.

  • Standardised patient consent forms would be introduced.

    Staff

  • Restrictions on consultants' ability to practice would be removed.

  • Doctors' training would be extended to include A&E and general practice.

  • Matrons would be re-introduced. The Conservatives say the "modern matron" recently announced by the Labour Party are renamed ward sisters.

  • Bio-medical scientists (laboratory staff) will be included in the NHS Pay Review Body.

  • Pharmacists to have an expanded role.

  • A new Mental Health Act and an Adoption Act will be introduced.

  • State funding of hospices will be increased to 40%.

  • Recombitant Factor 8, genetically modified and safer, would be available throughout the UK for haemophiliacs.

  • Euro preparations, which the Conservatives estimate will cost the NHS up to 100m, will be abandoned.
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    See also:

    24 Apr 01 | Health
    Tories to seek GP votes
    20 Feb 01 | Health
    Tories unveil NHS plans
    19 Apr 01 | Health
    GPs' mass resignation threat
    08 Mar 01 | Health
    The crisis in medical morale
    13 Mar 01 | Health
    Cash boost to recruit new GPs
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