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Clinical priorities: what are the manifestos promising?

Pulse stress-tests all the election manifestos

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conservative party tree 330x330px


Will ‘rectify the injustice’ for those with mental health problems by recruiting 10,000 more mental health professionals and ensuring medical staff have a ‘deeper understanding of mental health’. Patients will get a definitive cancer diagnosis within 28 days by 2020.

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labour rose 330x330px


Will set up a new £250m Children’s Health Fund and publish a new childhood obesity strategy within the first 100 days. Mental health budgets will be ringfenced and NICE will be asked to evaluate how best to expand access to psychological therapies.

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liberal democrats logo 330x330px

Liberal Democrats

Waiting times guarantee of under six weeks for talking therapies, and two weeks for a young person after an episode of psychosis. Tackle childhood obesity through mandatory sugar targets for food and drink producers. Minimum unit pricing for alcohol.

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snp logo 330x330px


Planning the development of big elective care centres, doing hips and cataracts on an industrial scale. Mental health strategy specifies more investment in child and adolescent mental health services.

Green party logo 330x330

Green party logo 330x330

Green Party 

More funding for sexual health awareness campaigns. Will bring mental health care in line with physical health care, with mental health awareness training within the public sector and ‘more open dialogue on the issue in wider society’.

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plaid poppy 330x330px

Plaid Cymru

A target to save 10,000 lives over 10 years, through a range of public health actions.

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ukip logo 330x330px




Plans to 'put mental health well-being on the same foot as physical healthcare' – by increasing funding and introducing 6,000 new clinical psychologists. The party will also cut mental health appointment waiting times from referral to the first appointment – reducing it from 18 weeks to 28 days. 

Pulse reality check

Lots of laudable goals here, but without the cash or the staff, it is not clear quite how the advances in mental health advocated by all parties can be made. The emphasis on tackling childhood obesity through legislation in the Labour and Lib Dem manifestos is encouraging.

This is part of a series of articles where Pulse reality checks all the manifesto promises from the main parties and their significance for GPs. Click here for all our Election 2017 coverage.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Vinci Ho

    The certainties and unpredictabilities of an extraordinary general election Part three

    This general election has become an event horizon where the gravity is so condensed that the warping of space-time virtually turned five weeks into five or even fifty years in our 'real world'...........
    The number of serious incidents taken place in this 'short' six weeks(since the PM announced the date of election)was incredible and unprecedented.

    Firstly , the cyberattack on NHS exposed how inadequately the government had invested in IT system of the health service. It fortified our message to the public all along that the so called 'investment' in NHS by government is a camouflage for real time cuts and withdrawal of funding commitments. The PM was too busy with her election campaign but also conscious of the poor reputation of her health secretary that she ordered her home secretary to brief the public instead . Amber Rudd has subsequently become a household name as she proved herself to be the doppelgänger of Auntie May on numerous other situations .
    The whole funding of resources in NHS had become a sugar coated poison with the word 'investment' on the surface and 'cuts' in the core. In similar tone , one can imagine the underlying agenda on reading carefully the Naylor Report about NHS properties .The health secretary , of course , was a strong protagonist.
    I can understand some colleagues who had involved with commissioning in CCGs ,would have felt obligated to fulfil a duty of utilising taxpayers' money effectively and efficiently . Efficiency saving might have been a silver bullet at the very beginning after the legacy of fat bureaucracy created by previous governments(Labour included) . But there is always a threshold that one cannot go below before the core of a system will be jeopardised . I would not dispute that there are still some wastage scattered around in the health service but the truth is the line of this threshold has been crossed by clandestine cuts made by this Tory government . One one hand , it is pushing the myth of more utilities or quantities (e.g. GP appointments) will improve satisfaction and quality of services(in fact , the ideology of quantitative changes leading to qualitative changes is part of the Dialectic Materialism of Karl Marx!)
    And on the other hand , it wants to play a 'smaller state' by withdrawing funding commitments consistent with its philosophy that economy is far more essential than public services of our society. Sadly and obsequiously , critics like Sarah Wollaston has to keep herself quiet in this critical time of a general election for the sake of her party and its leader . Once a Tory, always a Tory , I suppose ?
    The bottom line is we , medical professionals, should not bear the responsibility for the politicians of how resources( money , manpower , expertise and time simultaneously) would be provided . The arguments about huge national debts mounted are academic and forever going .Japan had been in recession for over 20 years since 1990 with only just a glimpse of recovery recently(the Lost Decade). It had not given up looking after its own people domestically and it has remained as the third world largest economy (as per nominal GDP). The economy of China may be very strong as one can perceive but both official and unofficial debt figures are beyond imagination and so are the amount of money retrieved from corrupt officials. Needless to talk about the debts US is bearing all the time , I believe UK will still remain as fifth largest economy in the world.
    If there is a political will , there is a political way . Unfortunately, this Tory government has a political will to pass the responsibility of a failing NHS to the medical professionals as the most respectable, Julian Tudor Hart concluded in BMJ.


    Then the story of election campaign was taken into fast lane . The Manchester Evening Arena bombing and killings on London Bridge took us by surprise repeatedly and the extraordinary circumstances certainly changed the nature of the narratives of all political debates. Controversially ,Corbyn questioned the relationship between the government's foreign policy in this war on terror and the recurrences of these terror attacks. In the last few days , the questions are circumventing the required number of police on the streets to deter these violences.
    The PM defended the cuts of police number on the street under her as Home Secretary and claimed that number of crimes had declined as well as police had been working more effectively and efficiently. Sound familiar to us , GPs?
    The other issue is legislations to be changed so as to apprehend potential extremists sooner rather than later and the strong and stable voice of the PM declared the will of changing human rights laws for terror fight .
    To me , any politician can put forward a draft to bring changes in legislation in House of Commons tomorrow. But building up a strong police(armed and unarmed) force need time and resources. If you do not have the means to look after a baby properly, the child could suffer malnutrition and disease sooner or later. If a normal baby presents to us with some initial symptoms e.g. fever , it is open to debate how serious you take this symptom to prevent further complications. Which issue is more essential, I would leave it to the readers to make that judgment.
    My own question to the PM is ,however, if you could say 'enough is enough' on these terror attacks , why wouldn't you admit 'enough is also enough' for the attacks of the government on public services funding?

    Last ,but not necessarily the least , the so called power surge in British Airways IT system leading to thousands of passengers stranded in airports ,opened up the question of whether it was down to their services outsourced to cheaper providers abroad . That was blatantly denied by their charismatic CEO(reminds me of Agent Hunt) . More importantly, BA belongs to a larger airline group , IAG, as this is the social norm of ' huge is better than big ;big is better than small' these days after globalisation . Again , sounds familiar to us ?
    Truth is private sectors always copy the behaviour of how a government treats the public sectors. If cheap is to be better , Cheap is Better. Anybody recalls the name Capita?
    Ironically , these passengers are still under protection because of EU legislations before we reach the deadline of Brexit. If I remember correctly , Mr Davis said the task of simply transferring the EU laws into British legislations would be straightforward.

    If your heart believes it will work , as difficult as removing a mountain to create a land in the sea, there will be an eventual day of success.
    If your heart does not believe it will work , as easy as snapping a twig from a tree , there will not be a time of completion.
    Sun Yat-Sen

    So , what do we believe so far about this general election? What do our political leaders believe ?
    There are some 'facts':
    (1)All polls suggested Tories to win although the lead was slashed down to four to five points in some polls.Then the possibility of hung parliament was mentioned in a Yogov poll last week and it suggested Tories to fall 18 seats short of majority. Other polls insisted the lead was still around 10 points.
    (2) What about bookies(depends on which one):
    Auntie May as PM stands at around 1/5 Uncle C as PM at 11/2 or 7/2
    Tories majority of seats around 1/5
    No overall majority at 11/2 or 5/1
    Labour majority at 25/1
    (3) Niel Kinnock , alongside other anti-Uncle C Labour MPs,told The New Statesman: "There is no honest measure of success and failure other than success equals Labour gains, Tory losses and at least a tight finish with possibility of a minority government. Failure equals Labour losses, Tory gains and an increased Tory majority."
    ( .
    (4) The front page heading of latest edition of The Economist was
    'Britain's missing middle' (3/6 -9/6 2017). This reinforced my belief that general practice in U.K. should always be driven by centre ground politics and this explained the predicament we have been forced into by this government. Interestingly , the editorial had declared the magazine will vote for Liberal Democrats.
    (5) One conservative candidate standing for re-election in South Thanet has been officially charged by CPS for overspending in 2015 election. Auntie provided her 'nurturing' and said ''The Conservative party continues to believe that these allegations are unfounded. Craig Mackinlay is innocent until proven guilty and he remains our candidate.” But Uncle C reminded us the independence of our judicial system and no comment should be made in an ongoing court proceedings.

    Who and what are you going to believe?
    Ultimately, it is about people having a normal and happier lives . I yet to see any party's manifesto fulfilling this goal. Pulse was spot on to call them 'zombie manifestos'. As I said before , it is no longer about who and what you trust the most , it is about who and what you trust the least in modern politics.
    Perhaps ,William Beveridge's five giant evils had never gone away but simply transformed itself into a 21st century version . That is ,in addition to a war of terror(WWIII under the cover)........

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