David Cameron sets out policies to boost NHS
Launching the Conservatives’ election campaign, Mr Cameron said that health care was his top priority and that he represented “the party of the NHS”.
The Conservative leader pledged to channel more health spending to poorer areas to tackle the growing gap in life expectancy between the wealthier and less well off.
A new maternity service giving mothers greater choice will also be set up if the Tories are elected.
Mr Cameron published the first chapter of a “draft manifesto” detailing twenty Conservative policies for the NHS.
These included a pledge to end mixed sex hospital wards, a plan to withhold funding from hospitals which infect patients with MRSA, and new proposals to give patients detailed information about the quality of treatment from each doctor, hospital or surgery.
Patients will also be given more opportunity to manage their own care and could receive treatment for minor ailments at their local pharmacist.
In a speech to Conservative activists, Mr Cameron said: “Today, the Conservatives are the party of the NHS. But talk is cheap. You’ve got to back that with action, and we have.
“We are the only party committed to protecting NHS spending. I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS. And don’t for one minute buy the Labour claim that they’ll do the same. They won’t – and their own figures show they won’t.
“Unlike us, they have not committed to protecting areas of the health budget such as public health and capital investment.”
Mr Cameron accused Labour of failing to tackle the gap in health between rich and poor, describing it as “one of the most unjust, unfair and frankly shocking things about life in Britain today”.
“Health inequalities in 21st century Britain are as wide as they were in Victorian times,” he said.
He promised the Tories would introduce a new health premium that would divert cash to the poorest areas and “banish health inequalities to history”.
“With our plans, the poorer the area, the worse the health outcomes tend to be, so the more money they can get,” he said, adding that local people would decide how it was spent.