• Call us now: 0300 303 0444
  • Call us now: 0300 303 0444
Views

You are here

Lots of good things in the manifestos

Stuart Bonar - Public Affairs Advisor
5 June, 2017

Lots of good things in the manifestos

At 7am on Thursday 8th June, the doors will open at tens of thousands of polling stations up and down the country, and voters will choose the 650 people who will represent them in the House of Commons for the next few years.

There are lots of parties trying to attract your vote, and we have already shared our analysis of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos. With all the remaining manifestos now out, we can analyse even more. For Scotland, we have looked at the SNP manifesto, and for Wales the document from Plaid Cymru. For Northern Ireland, we looked at manifestos from SDLP, Sinn Fein [pdf], the Democratic Unionists and the Ulster Unionists. We’ve also looked at the manifestos from UKIP, the Greens and the Women’s Equality Party.

Devolution – i.e. that the UK Parliament no longer has responsibility for health services in Northern Ireland, Wales or Scotland – complicates matters a little as MPs are still elected from those parts of the UK, and there are parties that only stand candidates outside England too. It is for that reason that there is not much in either the Democratic Unionist or Ulster Unionist manifesto on healthcare in England, for understandable reasons. That said, Sinn Fein highlights the status of healthcare staff from elsewhere in the EU as an issue, which is one of the issues the RCM has itself highlighted in our own manifesto.

Sticking with Northern Ireland for the moment, the SDLP argues in its manifesto that the pay freeze being endured by healthcare staff should end. Again, we are asking parliamentary candidates to support an end to the freeze and fair pay rises for midwives, maternity support workers and others throughout the UK.

In Wales, Plaid Cymru wants to see more action on public health – another item in the RCM’s own manifesto. We also highlighted the need to improve mental health care, another thing mentioned by Plaid. Interestingly, the party also calls for those behind the campaign to leave the European Union to honour the commitment they made during last year’s referendum campaign to put an extra £350 million per week into the NHS. This is something pro-Brexit politicians have gone very quiet on.

North of the border, whilst the focus of the SNP will obviously be on Scotland, the party is calling for more money for the NHS in England too. Their manifesto also highlights their commitment to safe staffing levels, including a commitment to have levels set in law. The SNP Government in Edinburgh has been honouring the recommendations of the NHS Pay Review Body (the PRB) – which is something we call for in our manifesto – but does warn that it might seek to establish a separate Scottish body if the different parts of the UK continue to go their own way on implementing the PRB’s recommendations.

SNP MPs will also call for Scotland to have its own, separate immigration rules that will allow Edinburgh to continue to attract EU and EEA nationals to work in Scotland’s NHS. Keeping the door open to European midwives is something the RCM wants to see, and has asked for in its manifesto.

Looking at the UKIP plan, there are some things here to be welcomed. They highlight the specific need to improve maternal mental health services, for example. They also have “no hesitation” in guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals here and working in the NHS “whatever the EU decides with regard to the rights of British citizens overseas.” We want the door to remain open, which we assume UKIP would not want, but this statement is welcome at least for the EU healthcare workers already here.

UKIP does commit to increase NHS funding in England by £9 billion per year by the end the early 2020s, and lift the pay freeze – but only for those earning under £35,000 per year.

There are lots of specifics in the Greens’ manifesto for gender equality that we welcome. On pay, the Greens would lift the pay cap on public sector workers, and increase pay in line with prices. They would introduce safe staffing rules – i.e. more midwives – and look to protect the rights of EU nationals already here and working in the NHS.

The Greens would also look to increase spending on mental health services to bring it into line with spending on physical health. On public health, the Greens would provide statutory rights to breastfeed infants on return to work. And explicitly the Greens commit to free NHS maternity care for everyone.

There is a lot of good stuff in the Women’s Equality Party’s manifesto too. This includes a commitment to increasing research into maternity care, breastfeeding and miscarriage. On breastfeeding, they also want to see it protected, promoted and supported.

They want an end to pay restraint and the reintroduction of the bursary for student midwives, nurses and others, as well as advocating for continuity of midwifery care for all women and free choice of birthplace, including homebirth.

There is a lot here to digest. We linked to each party’s manifesto at the beginning of the post, and information on the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat plans can be found here. There is not long to go, but there is time to take a look at what’s on offer.

If you want to find out who is standing in your area, the BBC can help – just click here. Challenge local candidates in the time that remains about what they think about the issues important to you. And remember to vote!

Printer-friendly version

Comments

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Posting as