Improving NHS outcomes for patients, improving efficiency, delivering enhanced services in specific areas of treatment i.e. Stroke were themes from all the parties in 2011. However, the focus and need for improvement from Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrats, and the Conservatives is further evidenced by twelve years of under investment and poor delivery by the Welsh Labour Government.
There is no suggestion from any of the parties to have major structural reform of the NHS following the changes introduced in 2009. However the Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and Liberal Democrats committed to improving the efficiency of the NHS. The Conservatives committed to ‘clamp down on the £1 billion worth of inefficiency’.
There are commitments from all the parties to improve access to GPs, community services and improving the collaboration between the NHS, voluntary sector and Local Government within Wales. All parties committed to ensuring issues around patient care, dignity and support which are linked to social care would be improved. The Greens called for social care to be free at the point of need.
Improvements in cancer detection, treatment and survival rates would be improved. The Conservatives wishing to implement a Cancer Drugs Fund, similar to the one introduced in England in 2010. The Liberal Democrats intended to introduce a national cancer plan allocating additional funding to implement the plan.
Protecting, increasing and developing specific funds within the HNS are a running theme across the Manifestos. Key areas for additional funding, in addition to cancer included Stroke, chronic conditions and community services.
Contrasting policy commitments were mainly aimed around the areas of keeping free prescriptions and private funding; the Conservatives wishing to charge £5 for those who previously paid, with all other parties committed to keeping the service free. The Liberal Democrats committed to allow private sector finance to be used in Wales if it could be used to improve the service. The Greens, Plaid Cymru and Welsh Labour all committed to keeping the NHS free from external market and private investment.
Manifesto commitments which were unique to certain parties included, the Greens plan to develop a bill to allow assisted dying and Welsh Labour wishing to introduce an organ donation bill.