General practice issues in Parliament – August 2022

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While Parliament has been in summer recess, the Conservative leadership contest has been ongoing with the candidates for Prime Minister setting out some of their ideas around health policy, which are likely to inform how the winner approaches governing. 

The next leader of the Conservative Party will be announced on 5 September, shortly after they will be invited by the Queen to form a government as Prime Minister. At midday on 7 September they will attend their first session of Prime Minister’s Questions. 

We have collected statements relating to health by the two candidates below: 

Liz Truss: 

  • The NHS backlog would be one Truss’ top three priorities, according to the Telegraph. 
  • Doctors should be enabled to continue working after reaching their lifetime pension cap, without paying the taxes that force thousands into early retirement. 
  • A national “retire and return” scheme is being considered, which would relax pension rules for retired doctors that limit their part-time earnings and reduce lengthy retraining courses.
  • The rule that bans returning staff from earning more from their pension and pay combined than they would earn working full-time could be scrapped.
  • The ‘National Insurance increase’ would be reversed which had been earmarked as a levy for the NHS and Social Care. 
  • Prime Minister Truss would instead take the money that would have been raised from the NI increase – £36 billion – out of ‘general taxation’ and spend it entirely on social care.
  • Truss’ campaign has also pledged to ‘cut bureaucracy in the NHS’ 

Rishi Sunak 

  • Has announced that he would put the NHS on a ‘war footing’ to tackle waiting lists. 
  • A ‘backlog taskforce’ would be set up, and 200 community diagnostic hubs would be in place by 2024. Sunak would make it easier for foreign doctors and nurses to come to the UK. 
  • The NHS app and 111 service would become the ‘NHS Front Door’.  
  • Sunak has also committed to introduce a £10 fine for missed GP and hospital appointments if a patient misses more than one.  
  • Sunak has defended the rise in National Insurance for Health and Social Care. 

Women’s Health Strategy 

Outside of the Conservative leadership contest, Steve Barclay, the Health and Social Care Secretary, launched the Government’s Women’s Health Strategy on 20 July.