POLICY PROMISES

Published: 24/02/2005, Volume II5, No. 5944 Page 9

From increased overall spending to teenagers' bad habits, HSJ looks at the rest of the key pledges from the manifesto.

Investment and re-organisation

NHS spending of£34bn 'over and above' the level inherited from Labour by the end of the next parliament. This means maintaining current growth in spending until 2009-10. Labour has only committed spending until 2007-08.

Foundation trusts 'free to hire staff, set their own employment policies and borrow to invest'.

Number of quangos 'halved'.

Community hospitals that 'have the support of local patients and GPs will not be closed'.

Access

No 'needless waits' by the end of the next parliament.

Patients given the right to access treatment at any NHS or independent hospital which can perform their operation at NHS prices and standards.

Patients given information on waiting times, treatment outcomes and patient experience surveys.

Hospital-acquired infection

Each trust would employ a local inspection team led by a matron who would have 'the final say' in closing wards. Conservative health spokesman Andrew Lansley said he was confident that the 'professionalism' of the matrons would counter any conflicts of interest. He also said that the matron should have an interest in 'all issues which impact directly on patient care', such as visiting times and the nutritional quality of hospital food.

Hospitals would be required to publish department-by-department information on HAIs.

Public health

Creation of an 'independent' commission for public health.

Campaigns to reduce irresponsible sex, drug abuse and binge drinking among young people.

A ten-fold increase in residential rehabilitation places for hard-drug abusers.

Other measures

People who pay for three-years' long-term care would be guaranteed free care for the rest of their lives.

Carers given the choice of which respite care they want to access.

Increased diversity of mental health providers through greater use of the independent sector.

A capitation payment for dentists to promote preventative treatment for adults.

Additional medical training places.