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BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 12 April 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1065

Last week the three main political parties in Britain published their manifestos in advance of the general election on 1 May. John Warden summarises their policies on health.


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Primary care: We will continue to encourage the spread of fundholding among GPs. However, we do not want the benefits of better health care to be confined to patients of GP fundholders. Our proposals to shift more health care towards family doctors are open to all.

We shall implement the new Primary Care Act, which will enable all family doctors to provide a broader range of patient services within their surgeries. This will include “super surgeries” and practice based cottage hospitals that can offer faster and more local treatment.

We expect to see the number of nurses working in GP practices continue to grow, as will the number of GPs.

New structure: No specific proposals.

Funding: The next Conservative government will honour a firm guarantee to the NHS. We will continue, year by year, to increase the real resources committed to the NHS, so NHS spending will continue to share in a growing economy.

We will promote the private finance initiative, which will unleash a new flow of investment funds into the modernisation of the NHS.

Patient services: We are tackling the problem of long waiting times, which can cause so much worry, distress, and pain. We will publish more information on how successfully hospitals are treating patients so that they and their GPs can make more informed choices between services in different hospitals and help stimulate better performance. Modern technology is constantly increasing the range of treatments …

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