Further problems with Tory Health promises from last December

Round two of my summary of last year’s Tory election promises regarding health and how they are failing to convert rhetoric into reality.

This is round 2 of my summary of the Tory promises made in their election manifesto last year. Thanks for all the comments you sent me last time. I look forward to getting another batch now. Contact me at richardkemp68@yahoo.co.uk.


  • Migrants will contribute to the NHS – and pay in before they can receive benefits.  This is no different from the current situation. We actually make a profit from taxes and NI on immigrants.
  • Qualified doctors, nurses and allied health professionals with a job offer from the NHS, who have been trained to a recognised standard, and who have good working English, will be offered fast-track entry, reduced visa fees and dedicated support to come to the UK with their families. This is, in part, a welcome change int heir policy but it ignores that fact that many of the people that we need to run our health and social care processes are below the qualifications threshold especially for caring positions for the elderly. Why should people we need in our system have to pay a visa at all?
  • Increase the NHS surcharge paid by those from overseas. If people are coming in specifically for operations or services and this has been arranged they should pay a reasonable market level for their care. Actually, they already do!
  • Double the budget for our health tourism enforcement unit. […] continue to offer free emergency care to anyone who needs it.  This is a total myth. There are, of course, a small number of people who try to game the system but most people are prepared and expect to pay a reasonable amount for care received if they have been taken ill or incapacitated whilst in the UK.

Access, accountability and transparency

Improve NHS performance, using [the] funding settlement to bring down operating waiting times, improve A&E performance and increase cancer survival rates.  This is wholly implausible. Whilst money continues to be spent on more curing than on prevention the NHS will continue to attempt to deal with more cases than it can afford.

In order to help communities cope better with pressures on public services, we will ensure that new GP and school places are delivered ahead of people moving into new housing developments.  The current funding proosals for planning gain and NHS uplifts simply do not have the mechanisms, the teeth or the amounts required to put this into practice.


  • Make it easier for people with learning disabilities and autism to be discharged from hospital and improve how they are treated in law.  This takes a lot of long-term investment. The direction is right but it will never be carried through.
  • Provide £74 million over three years for additional capacity in community care settings for those with learning disabilities and autism.  This is one which we all agree on but we need to train up people to do this work.
  • Reduce the number of reassessments [for Universal Credit] a disabled person must go through when a significant change in condition is unlikely.  NO, No, No. Either UC needs to eb abolished or a much more liberal and sympathetic regime needs to be introduced. Fiddling around with the system just will not work.
  • Publish a National Strategy for Disabled People before the end of 2020. This will look at ways to improve the benefits system, opportunities and access for disabled people in terms of housing, education, transport and jobs.  All the knowledge to do this exists but it will need a huge culture change in the way that the NHS works; along term culture change and an upfront investment to get things implemented.
  • Reduce the disability employment gap. 

Cancer, diseases, new medicines and technologies

Find a cure [for dementia] one of [the] Government’s biggest collective priorities – one of the ‘grand challenges’. This will include doubling research funding into dementia and speeding up trials for new treatments. The idea of a Government saying that they will find a cure for dementia is pathetic. Of course, they and the private sector will be looking at all aspects of this complex problem but an solutions might come tomorrow or in 10 years.

Roll out cancer diagnostic machines across 78 hospital trusts to boost early diagnosis

  • Overhaul NHS screening and use new technology and mobile screening services to prevent ill health. 
  • Focus on helping patients with multiple conditions to have simplified and more joined up access to the NHS.   Develop new treatments for serious diseases. 
  • Extend the successful Cancer Drugs Fund into an Innovative Medicines Fund  
  • Improve the early diagnosis and treatment of all major conditions 

This section is OK in principle but reads more like a letter to Father Christmas than a set of serious proposals.

End of Life Care

Support […] hospices, [by] developing the plans already announced to secure their future, with a £25 million cash injection in August to support 200,000 people at the end of their lives.  A one-off cash injection will not deal with the long-term needs of end of life care. Many hospices are teetering on the brink of closure.

Armed Forces Covenant

Introduce new legislation to tackle the […] legal claims that undermine our Armed Forces and further incorporate the Armed Forces Covenant into law. The health of former armed forces personnel who make up a considerable proportion of the homeless will never be sorted unless they are given decent homes.

Asylum and refugees 

Continue to grant asylum and support to refugees fleeing persecution, with the ultimate aim of helping them to return home if it is safe to do so. This is simply untrue. Since being re-elected the Government has removed from the Brexit provisions the elements allowing children and families to be reunited. The Tories have built up a foul rhetoric in the Country based on racism. They will be judged by their actions and not their words.

Overall Conclusion:

As I and many others have looked carefully at the Tory NHS and care promises we can see that many of them are delusional; some of them are right in spirit but are unlikely to be fulfilled because of structural problems in the care and health systems which are not being addressed and some are downright lies.

We have already seen the start of this process but as we see tax revenues shrink because of Brexit the Government cannot fulfil its promises in this or any other field.

I start where I finished. Plans for dealing with the serious problems that we face cannot be met from within existing budgets although improvements can and must be made int eh way that we spend money. If the Tories insist on no increases in corporation tax; VAT or income tax much of what they propose is just talk.

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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1 Response to Further problems with Tory Health promises from last December

  1. Alan Tormey says:

    The Select Committee Report which was published just before Parliament broke up in October show the key issue is of course finance and the post-code lottery across LAs. There are big problems with SEND and the 16-25 age group where skills budgets might play a part where there is, I believe, some discretion at the regional level.

    The 2014 Act was very much the work of our Sarah Teather, so would we are correct in reminding people that it is under the rule of Conservatives since 2015 that the good intentions of that Act have not only not been implemented properly but led to great unfairness and trouble for SEND pupils with some adverse impact on others in our schools.

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