HSJ’s round up of the day’s must read stories and debate

Election 2017: Pledges from the main parties

Still no manifestos from the main parties, but the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats all announced health policies – or at least priorities – over the weekend and on Monday.

  • In her first major policy announcement of the election campaign, Theresa May pledged to scrap the “flawed” Mental Health Act and replace it with new legislation if the Tories are re-elected. The move would be a major shake-up of mental health regulation and forms part of a package of mental health policy reforms announced by the prime minister. Ms May said her new law would confront discrimination and unnecessary detentions under the existing act, which is “outdated and unfit for purpose”.
  • Labour made two more health pledges on Monday: the first to make parking at NHS England hospitals free for patients, visitors and NHS staff. “Hospital parking charges are a tax on serious illnesses,” Jeremy Corbyn said. Meanwhile, the shadow health secretary announced a series of measures to make children in the UK “the healthiest in the world”.
  • The Lib Dems said they will invest an extra £6bn a year in NHS and social care, with the new ringfenced funding coming from a 1p rise on all rates of income tax. Tim Farron’s party also said its manifesto will also set out a “five point recovery plan” for health and social care.
  • Also, read Dave West’s latest expert briefing for an in-depth look at what big NHS decisions are being avoided (at least until 9 June) due to the general election campaign.

Beyond 8 June

Looking beyond the election, an alliance of NHS organisations is being put together to fight the health service’s corner during the Brexit negotiations, HSJ has learned.

Sources close to the discussions told us the group is being coordinated by the NHS Confederation with the aim of bringing together NHS representative bodies to ensure a single clear message on what is needed to ensure the NHS is not damaged by the UK leaving the EU.

GPs turn it round

Eight out of 10 GP practices rated inadequate by the CQC have improved following re-inspection, our analysis reveals.

Data, shared exclusively with HSJ, also shows that 52 practices inspected twice have since been “de-registered”, meaning they no longer provide GP services. Six of these followed enforcement action by the regulator.

According to the CQC’s figures, out of 151 practices initially rated inadequate, 40 have had their rating changed to requires improvement and 80 jumped to good, following a second inspection.

However, the data also showed 18 GP practices have had their rating downgraded to inadequate after being rated either good or requires improvement before.