Given that none of the main parties have published their manifestos, comprehensive policy pledges have not yet been made. With that said, parties have been drip-feeding various policies relating to health care as a way of gaining early momentum. The Tories have said they will deliver 6,000 more doctors in general practice in England by 2024-25. This would see the current tally of 3,538 GPs in training every year rise by around 500 each year over the next four years. Similarly, Labour have said they want to expand GP training places from 3,500 to 5,000 a year to ease the burden on GPs. This pledge is in line with the request made by the Royal College of General Practitioners on GP training places in September this year.
The Conservatives have also said they will make it easier for doctors and nurses from around the world to work in the UK after Brexit. They have pledged to introduce an ‘NHS visa’ as part of the wider points-based immigration system they have been advocating. The Tory manifesto will likely spell out the finer detail of this policy. While key stakeholders like the Royal College of Nursing have welcomed the policy, they claim that it is not ambitious enough, as it does not cover social care workers.
In other news, the Liberal Democrats have said working parents would receive 35 hours a week free childcare from the day their baby turns nine months old. It is likely that this policy will be a centerpiece of the party’s manifesto. The Labour Party have made a similar pledge, offering to provide 30 hours a week free childcare for every child from the age of two.
Labour is also promising to open a Sure Start centre in every community – 1,000 in total – across the UK.
Labour have also announced they will ask companies to introduce a menopause workplace policy to tackle stigma surrounding menopause. The new policy will ensure that organisations with over 250 employees give managers training so they understand the physical and psychological impact of the menopause.
Away from policy pledges, Jeremy Corbyn has claimed a Conservative trade deal with the US after Brexit could cost the NHS up to £500m a week. The Leader of the Opposition has said this money “could be taken out of the NHS and handed to big drug companies.” As expected, the Tories have dismissed the claims, once again reiterating the NHS will not be on the table of any UK-US trade deal.