The Conservatives, Labour and the Green Party have made pledges to support the NHS and the development of the nursing workforce as part of their manifestos for the general election.
The Conservatives have emphasised that they will continue to invest in and protect the NHS, specifically by spending an extra £8 billion by 2020 to meet the funding gap identified in the Five Year Forward View. They have also committed to ensure that every general practice in England provides seven-day services and that everyone over the age of 75 will be able to get a same-day GP appointment.
Labour have pledged to hire an extra 20,000 nurses, 3000 more midwives and 8000 GPs by investing £2.5 billion on top of the Conservatives spending plans. However, as the Conservatives have now pledged to meet the £8 billion funding gap, it is unclear if this means that Labour would invest £10.5 billion. Labour has also guaranteed GP appointments within 48 hours if they are elected to form a government after 7 May.
Labour has also pledged to repeal the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, although they have said that this will not lead to a top-down reorganisation of the health service. Rather, the function of CCGs and other organisations created in the 2012 reforms will change. Another key aspect of the party's NHS policy is the integration of primary and secondary care.
The Green's policy on the NHS is focused on removing what they see as elements of privatisation in the health service. They would do this by repealing the Health and Social Care Act, abolishing market-based commissioning and removing the ability of the health secretary to close departments without 'public participation'.
The Green manifesto also pledges to expand and invest in primary and community care services. They have committed to expanding the primary care budget to 11% of the total NHS budget, to transfer services from hospitals into the community, and enhance cooperation between primary care providers, such as general practices and pharmacies.
The Conservative party is due to release its manifesto today (14 April).