Today UKIP’s Health Spokesman Louise Bours launched the party’s Health Policy. Louise announced the following policies:
- Keep the NHS free at the point of delivery
- £3bn more invested in to NHS directed to frontline services
- Dementia funding £130m per year – £650m over Parliament – double Tories pledge and in line with what Alzheimer’s Research UK say they will need
- License to manage, as doctors and nurses are licensed so should medical management.
- Negate the drift of disgraced hospital managers being fired only to find another job elsewhere within the health service
- Abolish CQC- inspections would be taken up by local health board,who would also be encouraged to take evidence from whistleblowers and patients with grievances. The media have closed down more failing establishments than CQC
- Merging health and social care is a priority to enable more joined up integrated patients management
- Elderly social care funded with £1bn per year
- Hospital Parking charges scrapped £200m which we would find from tackling health tourism which costs up to £2bn per year
- Scrap tuition fees for medical students (on a means tested basis). Train nurses on wards and reinstatement of SEN (State Enrolled Nurse) to encourage more home grown medical talent
- Auxiliary staff should be able to work towards becoming an SEN
Read her full speech below:
UKIP believes in the NHS.
We and the British people are fully committed to looking after the NHS, and the vast majority of those working in the NHS are fully committed to looking after the British people.
The founding of the National Health Service in 1948 was a victory for the people of Britain. Quality healthcare, free at the point of delivery and funded entirely from taxation, meaning that people paid into it according to their means, for the benefit of everybody.
But sixty years on, it’s the NHS itself that needs emergency care and nursing back to health. Mainly because it has become a political punch bag.
Dysfunctional targets are imposed and dropped depending on what is best for the reputational image of the government of the day.
Endless top-down reorganisations, that drain it of cash, take place not because of clinical need but political opportunism. Money is pumped into NHS management with high executive salaries; repayments for the hastily signed PFI contracts, and policies of uncontrolled immigration pile on the pressure; patient care and treatment suffers.
The establishment parties have stolen the NHS from the people in order to use it as vote generator. They are wilfully ignoring the fact that the NHS should not be about politics, but about people – the people that work in it, but most importantly, the people that use it.
The British people care deeply for the NHS, it’s an institution they hold close to their hearts, and because of this the mainstream political parties have used it as a weapon, which can inflict maximum damage upon their political rivals.
And at the moment, if you ask the people about their experience of the NHS:
• Pregnant women and new mothers will tell you they’re not getting what they need from maternity wards
• The elderly will tell you they’re in hospital for too long because there’s no care plan in place for them at home
• People with mental health problems will tell you they feel ignored and let down by the current system
• Those visiting accident and emergency will tell you they’re having to wait longer than ever to be seen
• And those who have tried to get a GPs appointment recently will tell you it was a difficult experience, almost a battle, at a time when they’re at their least able to fight
UKIP, the people’s army, have asked the people what they want the NHS to be. Real people, people like you, not Westminster focus groups, and as a result, all of UKIPs policies are rooted around four key principles:
• There must be an unwavering focus on patient care and patient outcomes. These must always come first in decision-making.
• The NHS will remain free at the point of delivery and in time of need for all British citizens and qualifying foreign nationals.
• UKIP pledges an additional £3 billion more for the NHS every year; an affordable sum paid for ultimately by the savings we will make from leaving the European Union, but in the shorter term from other savings we will identify within our manifesto. We will insist this money goes into frontline resources, yes that’s real doctors, nurses and care, not middle management or expensive spin doctors.
• UKIP is committed to tackling PFI debts, excess bureaucracy, wasteful spending and abuses of NHS treatment. The taxpayer should not be paying for these failures; we will confront these challenges to release even more funds into front line services.
Let me tell you what this is going to mean in practice.
First of all we will spend £3 billion more on the NHS.
This is UKIP’s pledge to the people of Britain. And what will we spend the money on? What we believe in.
This money will provide 20,000 new nurses, 3000 midwives and 8,000 GPs. We will also invest in training, in equipment, in research. Now I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a much better way to spend our money than giving it over to the extortionate, out of touch, ‘members only’ EU club whose own financial profligacy is so out of touch that it hadn’t even had its own accounts signed off for the last nineteen years.
We’ll invest funds into training more GPs, and encourage those who have left the profession to come back into work. UKIP is particularly keen to encourage the 40% of women GPs who leave the profession before the age of 40, back into the surgery. We will do this by allowing women to take time out from their five-year free tuition fee qualifying period to have families if they wish, and by not charging either women or men for their own re-training on returning to the profession.
To cut GP waiting times UKIP will also free GPs from the burden of unnecessary data collection, target chasing, revalidation and appraisal work that actively prevents them from engaging with patients.
These measures will ensure GPs can meet UKIP’s requirements to open surgeries at least one night a week and one weekend a month in order to meet demand.
There is also one area, that still isn’t spoken about enough, probably because the sufferers feel too ill and too vulnerable to make their voices heard when they are not getting what they need from the NHS. That is mental health.
UKIP recognises that the health of our nation is not just about physical health, but about our mental wellbeing too.
• Increase funding for mental health services to improve and speed up access to treatment for both adults and children as part of our £3 billion injection into the NHS.
• Ensure there is capacity for all pregnant women and mothers of children under the age of 12 months to have access to specialist mental health treatment.
• Make sure clinicians take a ‘whole person’ approach to physical and mental health, signposting patients diagnosed with debilitating long-term conditions to local mental health services, and ensuring those diagnosed with a mental illness are given support.
And then, of course, there is the huge issue of dementia. Dementia is the biggest killer of women over the age of 55 and the fifth biggest killer of men, but research into the condition is woefully underfunded. With an ever ageing population, and more people than ever concerned about the effects of dementia, UKIP will ensure researchers receive the resources they require in order to tackle this disease effectively. We will pledge an extra £130 million per year to dementia funding.
Secondly, we will stop outright wastage and bad management.
We will stop up to £2 billion pounds being lost to the NHS every year through ‘health tourism’; foreign nationals who come to Britain specifically to get free NHS treatment or prescriptions, or who don’t pay their bills, or who are living in Britain only temporarily, or who are here illegally.
We will cut this bill by insisting migrants, students and visitors to Britain must have approved medical insurance: it’s not fair to expect British taxpayers to pay for foreign nationals to use the NHS. This is Britain: our NHS is the National Health Service, not the INTERNATIONAL Health Service.
• UKIP will not give NHS numbers to overseas visitors. Only once they have contributed through taxation for five years, will their requirement for health insurance expire.
• We’ll spend £200 million of the £2 billion saved from health tourism to end a shocking tax on the sick and the vulnerable: yes, UKIP will end hospital car parking charges in England.
We have seen of late appalling scandals and cover-ups in some hospitals; there have been inexcusable failures of care that have claimed lives and caused immense heartbreak. Often, management failures as well as clinical shortcomings contribute to these scandals, and so UKIP proposes that NHS managers should be subject to the same strict discipline as doctors are via the General Medical Council, and as nurses are via the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
• Under UKIP, NHS managers must have a License to Manage as a statutory requirement. Removal of this license would prevent incompetent, negligent or bullying managers being ‘conveniently’ moved sideways or re-employed by the NHS as external consultants.
Thirdly, we will make sure the service works properly.
UKIP’s unique extra funding will go a long way to help sort out the damage that’s been done to the NHS by Labour and the Tories. There’s also a lot more we can do even without putting any extra money in. We can also manage current resources better to give people the quality of service they deserve.
Last year, more than 1 million hospital bed days were lost because patients could not be discharged from hospital even though their immediate medical needs had been met. They were unable to leave hospital because there was insufficient help for them at home, or because there was nowhere to send them for long-term care.
And this is one of the most shameful aspects of our failed health and social care provision.
The social care system is woefully inadequate, we are treating people inhumanely. In 2005/06 15.3% of all people aged over 65 received social care. Today just 9.1% do, yet need has not disappeared.
It is mostly elderly people who need help in their day-to-day lives. Help to get out of bed, get washed and dressed, feed themselves, overcome isolation during the day, and getting to bed.
And how long do we provide a carer for them, how long do we provide a carer for an old man with dementia, to make his lunch, feed it to him, organise his medication, and make sure he will be okay for the rest of the day?
15 minutes per visit. 15 minutes.
Most of these people will have worked all their lives and paid into the system for decades. They will have helped build our economy, paved the way for us to enjoy the lives we have today. And this is how we treat them when they need our help the most.
This is a symptom of the disconnect between health, and social care funding. The NHS looks after the clinical need, but has very little accountability for what happens when the person returns home. Likewise, the local council is responsible for the welfare of people needing help at home or in care homes, but their accountability goes when the person is in hospital. The council are content to see the person languishing in hospital, and the hospital have very little interest in what happens to the patient once they’ve been discharged.
Charities have stepped in and made a huge difference for many people in need of care, and UKIP will work very closely and supportively with the third sector, but it is wrong to expect charities to take on work that should be funded by the government, just because the government has decided to cut funding for vital services.
People give money to charity to make people’s lives better, they do not give money to charity in order to allow politicians to dodge their care obligations.
If we want the elderly to feel the respect we have for the efforts they have made in their lives for us, if we want to be able to look them in the eye and be able to say they will get the care they need and deserve, we must fund this area properly.
UKIP will integrate health and social care, bringing both back under the control of the NHS with funding merged into one ‘social care fund.’ Merging these funds will reduce bureaucracy and administration costs, whilst ensuring that professionals working within the NHS and Local Authority communicate more effectively and in the best interests of patients.
We will also address the problem of reduced social care budgets. While NHS funding has been ring fenced, the Government has slashed local authority budgets and so has forced devastating cuts to services provided to the most needy in our society. Day care places, home care, meals on wheels services: they have been decimated. Age UK’s research shows there are 900,000 people who now have unmet needs for social care.
Now, integrating health and social care will also make a big difference to the intolerable pressure that Accident and Emergency Departments at hospitals have experienced this winter. If hospitals can’t discharge patients they won’t have the room to admit them. This has been one of the factors that have forced more patients than ever to have to spend over four hours on trolleys before being admitted to a ward; ambulances are frequently queuing outside A&E departments, unable to even take patients into the department. Hospitals are declaring ‘major incidents’ not because there’s been a major emergency involving significant numbers of people, but simply because they can no longer cope with the number of patients. Meanwhile, hundreds of urgent operations are being cancelled.
And yet the current Government is pushing ahead with plans to close many A&E departments and merge them into larger centres, before dealing with the problem of easing pressure on existing A&E departments.
Often, the A&E crisis is due to abuse of the ‘999’ emergency service, or patients turning up at A&E when they really should be visiting their GP.
Clearly, a public awareness programme will help prevent patients accessing A&E services inappropriately, however we doubt this problem will ever go away completely, and so UKIP proposes a common sense approach: we will initiate pilot programmes in English hospitals to put at least one GP on duty in every A&E department during the week, and provide additional weekend GP cover, to ease the burden on A&E staff who need to treat more seriously ill patients. If this pilot succeeds in its aim to ease pressure on existing A&Es, then we will roll the programme out across the country.
Finally, there is so much we can do to improve the quality of care.
UKIP will bring forward plans in our Manifesto to put quality of care back to the top of the agenda, so all of us can be assured we will be looked after in our old age, and not sent to the back of the queue when we have paid our dues to society.
For example, UKIP expects home care agencies to pay the minimum wage to their staff, and to pay them on duty or in training. There is no excuse for a big care company to hire anyone on a zero-hours contract, or to not pay them when they are travelling between appointments, or ‘on call.’ What these unscrupulous employers are doing, plain and simple, is stealing people’s wages. They are destroying the culture of good home care by not treating workers properly.
Care workers provide a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. In our new integrated health and social care model, we will not allow the NHS to hire them on that basis. The NHS is Britain’s largest employer, and the third largest employer in the world. It must set an example in all it does, and that includes ensuring that pay and conditions are fair for employees and contractors.
UKIP will also deal with the problem of elderly abuse.
The Care Quality Commission, the organisation that’s supposed to scrutinise care for the elderly and put right any wrongs, just isn’t working. As one care home whistle-blowers told me, the media have helped close down more abusive old people’s homes than then CQC. We will scrap this organisation and put its remit into local County Health Boards with the power to do unannounced, spot checks across all local NHS and social care services. The same boards will be tasked with a statutory duty to take evidence from, protect and investigate the allegations of whistle-blowers, and the friends and families of those who suspect their loved ones are not being cared for as they should be.
Loneliness is also a big problem for many old people, and one we want to tackle, so we will fund a ‘Coordinating Service for Older People’ unit in every local authority. This service will cross the boundaries between the NHS, Social Services, Community Agents and the voluntary sector. It will be responsible for ensuring that these organisations work together effectively, it will help charities seek out volunteers to join be-friending schemes, it will be pro-active in identifying people who may need support or company, it will make sure they know what is available, and, where there are gaps, it will find ways to fill them.
To achieve the highest possible quality of care we must have the right policies for nursing. Although the NHS is the biggest employer in the UK, it does not have enough nurses. UKIP would redress the imbalance of their being too many managers, not enough frontline staff.
• UKIP will simplify procedures for clinicians and nurses returning to work in the NHS.
• Nurse training should take place on the ward, not in a university lecture theatre. There is a desperate need to bring care and compassion back to the heart of nursing, to end the ‘too posh to wash’ attitude of some graduates and make sure patients never again die on our wards because their basic needs to be fed, given something to drink, and to be kept warm and comfortable are not being met.
• UKIP will bring back the State Enrolled Nurse; training will take place on the wards, utilizing the current pool of auxiliary staff allowing them to work toward becoming a State Registered Nurse.
• Nurse Managers will be responsible for ward cleanliness, the efficient operation of their wards, and oversight of nurse training on their wards.
• UKIP will also insist that any foreign health professionals working in the health and social care system must hold appropriate qualifications and speak and write English to a level that is acceptable to the profession.
So this is what UKIP will do to protect and nurture the NHS that we all care about so much:
• We will give the NHS the money it desperately needs.
• We will put an end to waste and bad management, enabling us, for example, to end parking charges.
• We will integrate health and social care so that patients are cared for in the right place by the right people.
• And we will implement a whole range of practical policies to improve the quality of care, especially for the elderly.
Our set of NHS policies are based on the experiences, needs and desires of real people that work and live outside the Westminster bubble; the people for whom the NHS is vital.
UKIP will not play politics with the people’s health service. We are the only party that has ruled out entering into a coalition, so we are the only party British people can be sure will fight after the election for the policies we have offered the public before the election.
We’re offering the country an NHS YOU tell us you need, an NHS you tell us you want, an NHS you will be happy dedicating some of your working day to support.
Fair and fully functioning, it’s an NHS that only UKIP will deliver. We believe in Britain, we believe in the NHS.