The UK Independence Party would save £2bn-£3bn by scrapping primary care trusts and strategic health authorities and having services run as franchises, its deputy leader has told HSJ.

Launching UKIP’s draft health manifesto, David Campbell Bannerman said his party would also allow patients to opt out of the NHS.

Elected health boards would have powers to sack the entire workforce of organisations within 24 hours of hearing about a big failure

Elected health boards would have powers to sack the entire workforce of organisations within 24 hours of hearing about a big failure.

Mr Campbell Bannerman said: “It has been an absolute scandal that we have people involved in unsafe and dirty practices yet no one carries the can.”

However, he said UKIP would make the NHS a “happier” place for managers by removing top-down targets and ensuring services were focused on patients and local communities.

The draft health manifesto, seen exclusively by HSJ, says PCTs and SHAs would be replaced with elected county health boards made up of health professionals.

They would tender all services through franchise agreements, which private companies, charities, cooperatives and legally recognised organisations could bid for, but all state owned assets would be retained.

Patients who wished to opt out of the NHS would be given “health credit vouchers” to spend on a private healthcare plan.

They would still be entitled to free emergency care.

The manifesto says: “NHS managers live in an ivory tower where they are guaranteed tens of billions of public money every year. Only through patient choice and thus competition can Britain see real improvements to the British healthcare system”.

It is a “myth” that only the wealthiest people enjoyed private health insurance and it reduces the burden on the NHS, the manifesto says.

There would be no national pay bargaining, including GP pay, under the plans.

Mr Campbell Bannerman said controlling immigration and reducing health tourism would also ease pressures on the NHS.

Withdrawing from the EU would save the NHS, which is at risk from moves to create Europe-wide super health regulators, he said.

UKIP also wants to repeal an EU directive seeking to ban herbalists and Chinese medicine practitioners from using manufactured or pre-prepared treatments.