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Provide exceptional healthcare, whenever, wherever

Last updated: 12:51pm 7 June 2019

Exceptional healthcare, whenever, wherever, delivered by an NHS with the money, buildings and people it needs.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.62

Our verdict

There are two parts to this – it is a promise to provide exceptional healthcare, but also to provide the NHS with what it needs in terms of money, buildings and people. Delivering on three related policies in particular would go a long way towards fulfilling the second part of this pledge:

However, even if all three were delivered (they’re not) and all the Health policies in the manifesto achieved a status of ‘done’ (they haven’t), we can’t be sure government could claim to be providing “exceptional healthcare, whenever, wherever”. That’s a judgement for NHS users, independent observers and professional bodies to make collectively.

Helpfully, in June 2018, researchers from the Health Foundation, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust joined forces to produce a report called How good is the NHS?

It compared the NHS to health systems in 18 similar developed countries and identified various strengths:

  • unusually good financial protection from the consequences of ill health
  • relatively efficient
  • performs well in managing patients with some long-term conditions

But it also pointed to serious weaknesses:

  • worse than the average in the treatment of eight out of the 12 most common causes of death
  • third-poorest performer on the overall rate at which people die when successful care could have saved their lives
  • higher rates of death for babies at birth or just after, and in the month after birth

The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, sets the strategic direction for the NHS as it aspires to improve health and social care, but many of the initiatives it contains are at the early stages of implementation.

The findings of the report above demonstrate how far there is to go before the government can fulfil this pledge. The Health policies in the manifesto are at various stages of completion, and the NHS Long Term Plan is at the start of a long journey. This policy is therefore ‘in progress’. We’ll be checking in with the report authors and other groups as we keep tracking, so follow this policy to stay informed.

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