Healthcare and the general election: What you need to know
Union Jack and doctor.

The general election is fast approaching, and with it can come stress and uncertainty. 

Under the current government, we have seen funding cuts, doctor and nurses strikes, and a staff mental health crisis. 

On 4 July, the government in charge of the country could change. But what do the parties up for election say about healthcare? 

We dug into their manifestos to find out: 

The Conservative Party

Rishi Sunak's party said that, if they win the election, they will "invest in and modernise the NHS."

They added they would invest £3.4 billion in new technology. This would include using AI to free up doctors' and nurses; time for frontline patient care, replacing outdated computers, and funding tech to help clinicians read MRI and CT scans quickly.

They said they are "committed to supporting a high-quality and sustainable social care system, building on our additional investment of up to £8.6 billion over the last two years. 

"At the next Spending Review, we will give local authorities a multi-year funding settlement to support social care and will take forward the reforms in our ‘People at the Heart of Care’ White Paper."

The Conservatives also said they would deliver 40 new hospitals by 2030 and "invest proportionately more in out-of-hospital services over time."

In terms of dentistry, the party said they would "make further reforms to the dental contract" and ensure newly qualified dentists have to work in the NHS for a number of years or pay back their training costs.

You can read the full manifesto here.

The Green Party

Green MPs said they will push for a year-on-year reduction in waiting list, guaranteed access to an NHS dentist and rapid access to a GP and same day access in case of urgent need.

They have also pledged an immediate boost to the pay of NHS staff, including the restoration of junior doctors’ pay, to help with staff retention.

In their manifesto, Rhun ap Iorwerth's party said they would give the NHS in England an additional annual expenditure of £8 billion in the first full year of the next Parliament, rising to £28 billion in total by 2030.

For investment in GPs and public health, the Greens said they would increase the allocation of funding to primary medical care, with additional annual spending reaching £1.5 billion by 2030.

Their manifesto noted an underfunding of mental heath services in the UK, and said the elected Greens would press for a trained and paid counsellor in every school and sixth-form college, and adequate support in the school system for neurodivergent children and children with SEN.

Green MPs said they will work towards no more HIV transmissions by 2030, advocating for a joined-up evidence based approach, including access to the HIV prevention pill online, in pharmacies and from GP services, and renewing successful opt-out HIV testing programmes in A&Es in all areas with a high prevalence of HIV.

You can read the full manifesto here.

Labour Party

With the tagline "Build an NHS fit for the future", Labour said they would cut NHS waiting times with 40,000 more appointments every week.

They said Labour’s reforms will shift our NHS away from a model geared towards late diagnosis and treatment, to a model where more services are delivered in local communities.

Kier Starmer's party added that they would "harness the power" of tech like AI to speed up diagnostic services. This includes utilising the NHS app more, which the party said will put "patients in control of their own health to better manage their medicine. Appointments and health needs."

They added that they would digitise the Red Book record of children's health to "[improve] support for new families."

Labour also said they will use spare capacity in the independent sector to ensure patients are diagnosed and treated more quickly.

"The National Health Service needs to move to a Neighbourhood Health Service," the party said, "with more care delivered in local communities to spot problems earlier. To achieve this, we must over time shift resources to primary care and community services."

You can read the full manifesto here.

Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dems said they would give "boost cancer survival rates and introduce a guarantee of 100 per cent of patients to start cancer treatment within 62 days from urgent referral."

Ed Davey's party said that if elected, they will improve early access to mental health services by establishing mental
health hubs for young people in every community as well as introducing regular mental health check-ups at key points in people’s lives when they are most vulnerable to mental ill-health.

In the manifesto, they said they would put a dedicated, qualified mental health professional in every school as well as extending young people's mental health services to the age of 25.

The party added that they would free up GPs' time by "giving more prescribing rights and public health advisory services to qualified pharmacists, paramedics and nurse practitioners."

Other pledges include increasing the number of full-time equivalent employees by 8,000, introducing a universal 24/7 GP booking system, and establishing a Strategic Small Surgeries Fund to sustain services in hard-to-reach areas.

They also said that a levy on tobacco company profits would be introduced to help fund healthcare and smoking cessation services.

You can read the full manifesto here.

Reform UK

Within the first 100 days, Reform UK said they would "end doctor and nurse shortages" by allowing all frontline staff to pay zero basic rate tax for three years.

They also said they would "write off student fees pro rata per year over 10 years of NHS service for all doctors, nurses and medical staff."

Nigel Farage's party added that they would "save A&E" by "cutting waiting times with a campaign of ‘Pharmacy First, GP Second, A&E Last’" as well as offering tax incentives for new pharmacies those who employ more staff to assist in relieving pressure on A&E.

They would enforce the rule that operating theatres must be open on weekends, and said this would be done by making sure rotas are "planned further in advance."

The party said they will pledge £17 billion per annum.

You can read the full manifesto here.

Scottish National Party (SNP)

The SNP said they would put "Scotland's interests first" by protecting the country's NHS.

Scotland's NHS is a separate body to those in the UK, and the country does not have NHS trusts.

However, the NHS in Scotland is funded by the Scottish government that itself receives funds voted to it by the UK Parliament.

The SNP said they would "protect the NHS from Westminster privatisation" with the 'Keep the NHS in Public Hands' Bill.

It would stop any UK government "undermining the principles and protections of the NHS as part of any future trade deals."

Additionally, they said they would "match Scotland’s NHS pay deals by increasing investment in NHS England staff pay and
conditions of at least £6 billion".

John Swinney's party said: "This would deliver around £600m for Scotland that we could invest in pay deals for our hardworking NHS staff. Combined with our calls for additional investment to improve performance, this £16 billion funding boost would generate £1.6 billion annually for Scotland’s NHS."

They added they would Scrap Trident (a programme that covers the development, procurement and operation of nuclear weapons in the UK) and invest the billions spent funding in public services, such as the NHS.

You can read the full manifesto here.