It’s only a week until the general election on Thursday, 7th May. It looks like being the closest election in living memory, meaning the way you vote could be the most important political decision of your life.
With lots of talk about care, health and the NHS, it’s difficult to see where our political parties position themselves in terms of support for people living with HIV. This isn’t surprising as focus tends to be put on financing and restructuring health and social care, rather than on individual health conditions.
Do you know who your voting for yet or are you still not sure? – If you’re not, you are not alone! Polls show that more people than ever before are still trying to decide which of the parties to support.
Part of the problem is information overload. We’re drowning in fact and figures about politics, claims and counter-claims from the politicians and their spin-doctors. How is anyone supposed to cut through it all to the things that really matter to them?
You may be asking, as a HIV positive individual, what party will ensure my care, and what HIV (or anti-HIV) policies can I expect from our government and now is the time to decide if you prefer to vote for the status quo, or vote for change.
A HIV diagnoses is only part of the issue, what to matters is access to GP’s and ensuring our NHS is adequately staffed to support patients in need of medical assistance. While there’s no direct messages from our political leaders about HIV, (other than sensationalised media reports) we can see their pledges for health & social care which directly affects not just people living with HIV, but for many other people who use public services.
The following information is provided to help give clarity across the parties’ pledges. We are obviously not advising you who to vote for but we hope this information is useful if you are yet to make up your mind.
What is the main message?
Quality health for all, with a guarantee of equal care for mental health
How much money have they pledged for the NHS?
What about social care?
Have they committed to delivering integrated care?
Yes – building on the Better Care Fund and proposals to pool £6 billion of health and social care funding in Greater Manchester
Yes – physical health, mental health and social care services to be integrated to provide ‘whole-person care’, with a stronger role for health and wellbeing boards
Yes – social care to be provided free at the point of use in line with the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England
And do they support the NHS five year forward review?
What are their plans to access to services?
Initiate a pilot programme to put GPs on duty in A&E departments seven days a week. Fund 8,000 new GP posts, with 1,000 of these designated to work on duty in A&E departments if the pilot programme is successful
Have they committed to more staff?
What pledges have the made about mental health?
An extra £500 million a year for mental health services to improve access and reduce waiting times A raft of proposals to improve mental health services, in particular for children, pregnant women and new mothers.
Ensure that spending on mental health rises and that everyone who needs a mental health bed can access one in their local NHS, or within a reasonable distance of their home if specialist care is required. Eliminate the use of police cells as ‘places of safety’ for children by 2016, and for adults, other than in exceptional circumstances, by the end of the
What are they saying about public health?
Set maximum limits on levels of fat, salt and sugar in food marketed to children. Set a new national ambition to improve the uptake of physical activity and take targeted action on cheap, high-alcohol drinks.
Introduce a minimum price of 50p per unit for alcoholic drinks
Extend VAT to less healthy foods, including sugar, spending the money raised on subsidising around one-third of the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Would they repeal the Health and Social Care act?
A bill in their first Queen’s Speech to repeal the Act – this would roll back competition, make the NHS the preferred provider of services and restore the Health Secretary’s responsibility to provide a comprehensive health service
Yes – repeal the Act by introducing an NHS Reinstatement Bill to abolish competition and the commissioner–provider split and restore the Health Secretary’s responsibility to provide a comprehensive health service.
You can find all the information above and more policies within the party manifesto’s. Click on the icons below to visit the party’s manifesto.
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