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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 March 2007, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Cameron's Tory focus on Welsh NHS
David Cameron addressing Welsh Conservatives
David Cameron claims the Tories are the party of the NHS
Conservatives have promised better hospitals and schools and more affordable homes in their Welsh assembly election manifesto.

Tory leader David Cameron joined party assembly leader Nick Bourne for the launch near Mold, Flintshire.

The manifesto said the NHS was the party's priority, and that professionals, not politicians, should be "in the driving seat" for patients.

It also pledged to fund schools directly, rather than through councils.

The document, "Vote Welsh Conservative for a change" said the party would spend the same amount overall as Labour on public services and would fund its programme by saving 1% from existing assembly government budgets.

Mr Cameron said the manifesto concentrated on things that really mattered to people.

He said Conservatives supported hospitals facing cuts and would also campaign on the environment, crime and education.

"Not the fantasy world of Welsh independence, not the same old promises from Labour, but a different way, looking forward to a brighter future for Wales," he said.

Conservatives won 11 seats out of 60 at the 2003 assembly election.

It is the third largest political group in Cardiff Bay, one seat behind the biggest opposition party, Plaid Cymru, which launched its manifesto the day before. The minority Labour assembly government has 29 seats.

Welsh Conservatives have spent recent months preparing supporters for the prospect of entering some sort of coalition with other parties if nobody wins an overall majority on 3 May.

A list of Tory NHS plans includes a promise of prompt and safe treatment, extra cash for more modern medicines and an investment fund for cancer services.

TORY HEALTH PROPOSALS
David Cameron, his shadow cabinet and Welsh party leader Nick Bourne in Cardiff the week before the manifesto launch
Quicker treatment and cleaner hospitals
More money for modern medicines
Improved cancer services
Reform mental health services
Commission to examine hospital structures
Source: Welsh Conservative Party manifesto

There are proposals to tackle obesity, pilot a "nurse-led walk-in centre" in north Wales and improve cleanliness and food in hospitals.

The manifesto also contains a commitment to establish an independent commission to examine the structure of hospital services.

Each political party could nominate a member of the commission, along with other groups representing health staff and patients.

'Optimism and hope'

The party would seek powers from Westminster to reform mental health services which the Tories said "need urgent attention".

The document's 35 pages also cover measures for carers and children in care.

Small and medium-sized businesses would be given incentives for conserving energy, using fewer motor vehicles, and for providing flexible working and childcare.

The party pledges to expand the business rate relief scheme.

The Conservatives would encourage more public services to be provided by the private sector and introduce a voucher scheme to give businesses a wider choice of business advice. A seaside towns initiative would use EU funds to improve resorts.

The manifesto also confirms a plan to give every household in Wales 20 worth of energy-saving light bulbs as part of measures to reduce climate change.

Pensioners would receive a 100 council tax discount each year to help them with the bills.

The manifesto describes Conservatives as "the party of change, optimism and hope".

The document's author, David Melding, conceded that there were "some serious decisions to be made" to pay for the plans.

The 1% the party would cut from existing assembly government budgets amounts to around 150m.

Mr Melding said: "We would phase out free school breakfasts, for instance, so that we could have more general after-school activities for children to help working parents."

Mr Melding said the party had been "very candid" about the changes it would make.




SEE ALSO
Tories can save NHS, says Cameron
18 Mar 07 |  UK Politics

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