As a party, we believe in the values and principles on which the National Health Service was founded in 1948, and continues to operate to this day. We are proud of the NHS and its achievements over the years and every single day providing comprehensive healthcare for everyone, free at the point of use and delivered according to patient need and not ability to pay. The Federalist Party believes in preserving these fundamental features of the NHS for future generations.
We recognise that the NHS is facing a wide range of challenges, including an aging and growing population, changing health needs, increasing costs and the combination of centralisation and privatisation. We also consider that these challenges are not uniform, but vary around different regions of the UK. We believe that a federalist approach to organisation, combined with increased funding and investment in staffing holds the key to getting our health service into shape to meet the needs of the present and the future generations.
Whilst we firmly believe that genuine efforts to improve the efficiency and efficacy of NHS services and their delivery around the country are necessary, we believe that the current efforts to reduce costs which is driven by a top-down policy of austerity at any price is critically undermining the sustainability of NHS services and threatens the future health of the nation. It is the responsibility of government to ensure the health service is sufficiently funded to meet present and coming needs.
As federalists, we oppose the unnecessary centralisation of NHS services, leading to the closure of local and community based healthcare, and moves key decisions about people’s health away from their local social context. We support reversing this trend by moving more services and facilities into community based hospitals and clinics, particularly in rural areas, always provided that these are adequately funded, staffed and resourced. Local authorities should play a stronger role in setting NHS priorities and budgets in order to ensure services are fit for local needs.
We will seek to implement the ‘parity of esteem’ principle to ensure equal access to mental health services and adequate funding and staffing to achieve this. We believe that patients in need or urgent mental health treatment should receive it promptly and locally. We will also invest in training and education to increase awareness of mental health issues, tackle stigmatisations and promote a healthy public debate.
We will invest more money in social care and ensure greater integration between social care provision, NHS services and local authorities. Personalised social care plans should be developed for all individuals in order to suit their own needs and circumstances as efficiently as possible.