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Conservative Party manifesto: Modernising GP surgeries and expanding nurse recruitment

Conservative Party manifesto: Modernising GP surgeries and expanding nurse recruitment
Conservative leader Rishi Sunak | Image: UK Parliament,. Released under Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) licence

The Conservative Party has pledged to modernise GP surgeries and recruit thousands nurses in its election manifesto, launched today.

Speaking to the press, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised ‘quick and rapid’ access to healthcare services and committed to recruit 92,000 more nurses and 28,000 more doctors, although no timeframe was given for achieving this.

Other promises included ‘driving up productivity in the NHS’ and ‘moving care closer to people’s homes’ through new and modernised GP surgeries, more Community Diagnostic Centres and the continued expansion of Pharmacy First in England.

This follows the party’s announcement last week, that it would allow pharmacists to treat more conditions including acne and chest infections under Pharmacy First, in addition to offering contraceptive patches,  injections, and menopause support including HRT.

The manifesto contains a commitment to ‘make the NHS App the single front door for NHS services’, with patients to use the app to ‘access their medical records, order prescriptions, book vaccination appointments, access a digital red book, and manage their hospital appointments.’

Further plans include the modernisation of 250 GP surgeries, which will be focused on ‘areas of new housing growth,’ alongside the building of 50 more Community Diagnostic Centres, including in underserved areas, which the party says would result in 2.5 million checks a year.

Focusing on health technology, the manifesto pledged to ‘use AI to free up doctor’s and nurses’ time for frontline patient care,’ and to ‘replace tens of thousands of outdated computers.’

The 80-page document said these changes would help in ‘slashing the 13 million hours in doctors’ and nurses’ time lost to IT issues every year’.

Responding to the manifesto, RCN Acting General Secretary and Chief Executive, Professor Nicola Ranger, described the manifesto as ‘falling short’ of fixing the crisis in health and care and warned that ‘recommitting to old targets in rhetoric is not enough.’

Adding that: ‘There was no mention of this year’s NHS pay award, which is three months late, nor an intervention to stabilise higher education and boost numbers joining the profession.

‘Nursing staff were looking for commitments to government-funded nursing degrees and job guarantees for graduates. They will fear tax cuts will be paid for by cuts to jobs or cuts to services.

‘A legal cap on migration, whilst nursing vacancies remain in their tens of thousands and domestic applications into the profession plummet, is a road to nowhere and could further threaten the safe staffing of health and care services. Potentially subjecting migrant health and care staff to health checks is an extension of hostile immigration policy and wrong in the extreme.

‘This manifesto, far from boosting recruitment into the workforce, proposes cutting NHS managers and looks set to include nurses responsible for service delivery. All the while doubling down on anti-trade union legislation which silences NHS staff from standing up for their patients.’

Nursing in Practice is publishing news of the manifesto commitments for nursing from all major parties ahead of the general elec tion.

See here, to read the Conservative manifesto in full.


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