LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine) – Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak are stepping up their campaigns for the Tory leadership this weekend by outlining new policies to deal with the NHS backlog and repeal EU regulations if they are elected prime minister.
First up is the former chancellor, who has pledged to make the NHS waiting list his number one priority in public service.
In June, a record 6.5 million people waited for a standard NHS hospital procedure, the greatest amount since 15 years, since records have been kept
With 300,000 people still in line at February end this year in comparison to the figures of 2020 when the numbers were less than 2000, the number of people waiting over a year for hospital care is over 200 times higher than it was before the pandemic.
Mr. Sunak will promise to establish a vaccine type taskforce to combat bureaucracy and waste, and drive dramatic reforms in a speech in Grantham, the town where former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was born.
By September 2024, six months earlier than the current target date of the government, he would promise to “eliminate one year waits” and make sure that everyone waiting for over 18 weeks for a procedure receives a call from their trust within 100 days.
In addition, he will pledge to create 200 community diagnostics hubs by March 2024 as part of his “war footing” NHS plan. These hubs will provide services including CT scans and MRIs, extend at-home testing, and let patients choose their own appointment hours.
Mr. Sunak is anticipated to say that many people were already using money to go private even though they couldn’t truly afford it. Privatisation through a back door like that was not right.
No one should be forced to make a decision with a gun to their head. The NHS would experience unmanageable pressure and eventually collapse if they did not quickly implement a fundamentally different strategy.
However, the pandemic is already putting a pressure on employees, and there are vacancies everywhere. Labour warned that if the government wants to reduce wait times, it needs a plan to handle the staff crisis in the service.
Ms. Truss, in contrast, pledged in her most recent policy speech to “red tape bonfire” EU regulations, saying she would evaluate all rules still in effect in the UK after Brexit by the end of 2023.
In order to promote corporate investment and “make the most of our new-found freedoms outside of the EU,” the foreign secretary says she will then eliminate or replace those she believes harm economic progress. This pledge is similar to one made by Boris Johnson.
If Mr. Sunak wins the election, he has already committed to appointing a Brexit minister to review the retained laws.
They would be given the go-ahead to submit initial suggestions for rules to be dropped or altered within a hundred days of the outgoing chancellor starting office, he said.