What has the UK Independence Party pledged about the NHS ahead of the general election?
What are the key pledges made so far by this party on health and the NHS?
Nursing Times has analysed the pre-election speeches and policy announcements of the main parties ahead of the election on 7 May.
Read below to find out what UKIP have said about health and the NHS, and then compare it with the other parties in the special election section of our website.
What key pledges have grabbed the headlines?
The party’s health policies have so far not received the same level of media coverage as other issues more traditionally linked with it. However, its main top-line has been a promise to invest £3bn into the health service.
Most of the headlines about the party have surrounded its high profile leader’s views on access to healthcare. In a BBC radio interview on 17 March, Nigel Farage said those that could afford to do so should pay for private healthcare.
However, the main part party line is that “the NHS will remain free at the point of delivery and in time of need for all British citizens and qualifying foreign nationals”.
What has the party promised on workforce issues?
Overall, it has said the extra money it intended to invest in the NHS will provide 20,000 new nurses, 3,000 midwives and 8,000 GPs.
“Although the NHS is the biggest employer in the UK, it does not have enough nurses,” said UKIP health spokeswoman Louise Bours in February when she launched the party’s health policy during a visit to Rochester in Kent.
To help achieve its workforce aim, it would “simplify procedures” for former nurses to return to practice and bring back the title of state enrolled nurse to enable more healthcare assistants to become registered nurses.
Ms Bours has also claimed nurse training “should take place on the ward, not in a university lecture theatre”. Under UKIP control, nurse managers would be “responsible for ward cleanliness, the efficient operation of their wards, and oversight of nurse training on their wards”.
What has the party pledged to do for NHS finances?
It would invest £3bn more into providing frontline services. The money would come, it said, from leaving the European Union and in the shorter term from other savings that would be identified in its manifesto, which is yet to be published.
The party also said it would scrap hospital parking charges in England and make up the £200m financial shortfall from “tackling health tourism” by overseas nationals using UK health services.
Like other parties it wants to increase the level of integration between health and social care, but unlike others it bring both back under the control of the NHS with funding merged into one “social care fund”.
What does the party think about private sector involvement in NHS?
Ms Bours has said the party was “committed to tackling” debts from private finance initiatives.
“We will stop further use of PFI in the NHS and encourage local authorities to buy out their PFI contracts early where this is affordable,” she said in her speech in February.
What has the party said about mental health?
It has said it will increase funding for mental health services to “improve and speed up access to treatment” for both adults and children, and ensure clinicians take a “whole person” approach to physical and mental health.
The party has also promised to make sure there is capacity for all pregnant women and mothers of children under the age of 12 months to have access to specialist mental health treatment.
In addition, it has stated that it will invest an extra £130m per year to dementia research funding.
- This page will be updated during the election campaign, as more policies are announced