The UK Independence Party has confirmed it would bring back enrolled nurses in order to “put care and compassion back at the heart of nursing” in its election manifesto launched today.
The party pledged to fund 20,000 more nurses and 3,000 more midwives, investing in both training and return to practice schemes.
Overall, it promised to put £12bn into the NHS over the next five years and said the cash would be spent on “frontline patient care”.
In the manifesto document, which claims “Britain’s best-loved institution is in crisis”, UKIP highlighted a “chronic shortage of doctors nurse and midwives”.
“Not only will UKIP fund the training of nurses and midwives, we will also fund return to practice training for those have taken career breaks,” it said. “Because we believe nursing starts and ends on the ward, we will bring back the state enrolled nurse and put care and compassion back at the heart of nursing.”
The pledge on enrolled nurses confirms an earlier announcement made by UKIP health spokeswoman Louise Bours in February.
The party has also proposed radical changes to healthcare regulation, promising to scrap Monitor and the Care Quality Commission and put the task of inspecting healthcare services into the hands of county health boards.
These boards would be made up of “health and social care professionals elected locally by their peers” and “would have the power to inspect health services, conduct snap inspections and take evidence from whistleblowers”, it said.
UKIP also wants NHS managers to be subject to the same kind of professional regulation as nurses and doctors.
“We think NHS managers should be subject to disciplinary oversight in the same way as doctors and nurses who are regulated by the General Medical Council and Nursing and Midwifery Council,” said the party manifesto, which promised a new “licence to manage”.
This would help “prevent incompetent, negligent or bullying managers being moved sideways or re-employed by the NHS as external consultants”, it stated.
Other UKIP policies on the NHS include measures to alleviate pressure on hard-pressed accident and emergency departments by funding more consultants and trialling putting GPs on duty in A&E seven days a week.
“We will bring back the state enrolled nurse and put care and compassion back at the heart of nursing”
UKIP has also promised to scrap hospital parking charges for patients and visitors at English hospitals.
In primary care, the party said it would train and employ 8,000 more GPs and reduce data collection tasks and bureaucracy to free up time for more direct work with patients.
The party has also said it would increase mental health funding by £170m annually – to be phased in during the first two years of the next parliament.
Among its promises on mental health, it pledged to “end the postcode lottery for psychiatric liaison services in acute hospitals and A&E”.
“Patients experiencing distress or exhibiting mental ill-health issues when admitted to hospital should have both their physical health and mental wellbeing assessed,” said the manifesto. “This must not just be an optional extra.”
UKIP election pledges on health:
- Extra £3bn a year into the NHS in England
- 20,000 more nurses and 3,000 more midwives
- Train and employ 8,000 more GPs
- Bring back State Enrolled Nurse
- Improve working conditions for UK-trained emergency medicine consultants to stop them leaving to work abroad
- Fund more emergency medicine consultants to tackle shortages
- Pilot GPs in A&E departments seven days a week to ease burdens on emergency care teams
- Scrap hospital parking charges in England
- Increase mental health funding by £170m annually
- Scrap Monitor and the Care Quality Commission
- Inspections of healthcare services to be carried out by county health boards made up of health and social care professionals
- New “licence to manage” for NHS managers
- End the use of Private Finance Initiatives in the NHS
- Ensure the NHS is excluded from the Transatlantic Trade Partnership
- Stop so-called “health tourism” and insist migrants and visitors to the UK have approved medical insurance
Find out which party has pledged what about nursing and the NHS on the Nursing Times’ special 2015 election web page