How will the election affect the NHS?

The outcome of the general election marks the first Conservative majority Government for 18 years. Despite polls anticipating results between Labour and the Conservatives to be tight, David Cameron’s party achieved a convincing victory. So what effect will a Conservative majority Commons have on the NHS?

Health and social care was one of the key issues addressed during the 2015 general election campaign, and the Conservative Party have committed to spend at least an additional £8 billion on the NHS over and above inflation by 2020 (The Conservative Party, 2015). This is in line with the amount outlined by Simon Stevens in the Five Year Forward View (NHS England et al, 2015) as being required if the NHS is to be sustainable. However, the Conservatives have not yet indicated where this money will come from or how much will come each year.

The Conservatives plan to continue to strive for a truly 7-day NHS, and aim to give all patients access to a GP from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, 7 days a week by 2020 (The Conservative Party, 2015). They have guaranteed that everyone over 75 years will get a same day appointment if they need one, and have said they will train and retain an extra 5 000 GPs (The Conservative Party, 2015). However, analysis published by the Royal College of General Practitioners suggests that under current systems, patients will have to wait until 2034 for the proposed additional GPs (Rimmer, 2015). The College has estimated that 8 000 more GPs will be needed in England by 2020 to keep up with patient demand, and so an emergency package of measures is needed if this is to be realised (Rimmer, 2015).

Other priorities for the Conservatives include equal priority for the treatment of mental conditions and the need to integrate health and social care systems by joining up services between homes, clinics and hospitals (The Conservative Party, 2015).

The impact for ambulance services of 5 years under the Tories is unclear. However, it is likely that the gradual shift in focus to treat people at home rather than in A&E will see an enhanced role for paramedics. That being said, it will not be easy. While paramedics are well placed to provide additional health services, February saw the profession being added to the shortage occupation list for the first time, as increased pressures brought on by longer hours and growing stress levels have led to many looking for alternative lines of work.

NHS Providers chief executive, Chris Hopson, has argued that until performances and finances are stabilised the NHS cannot transform (Hopson, 2015). Going forward this will undoubtedly be the challenge for the Conservative Government. By addressing these factors as a priority, only then can patient quality of care be ensured.


The Conservative Party (2015) Strong leadership. A clear economic plan. A brighter, more secure future. The Conservative Party Manifesto 2015. (accessed 1 June 2015)

Hopson C (2015) The new health secretary will face an uphill battle. HSJ. (accessed 1 June 2015)

NHS England, Public Health England, Health Education England, Monitor, Care Quality Commission, NHS Trust Development Authority (2014) Five Year Forward View. (accessed 1 December 2014)

Rimmer A (2015) It will take up to 31 years to deliver number of GPs promised by political parties, says RCGP. BMJ 350: h2472. doi: 10.1136/bmj.h2472

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 5 June 2015.

London’s Air Ambulance celebrates 25 years

On 9 January, London’s Air Ambulance celebrated 25 years of service to London.

The air medical service, which was formed following a report by the Royal College of Surgeons that stated too many people were dying in the street unnecessarily, has delivered advanced trauma care, including roadside open chest surgery, anaesthesia and blood transfusions that have been adopted throughout the world.

Graham Hodgkin, chief executive of London’s Air Ambulance, said: ‘It is thanks to the generosity of the people of London that we are here today commemorating this milestone. 30,000 people have benefited from our life saving service and many of our critically injured patients have returned to their families and communities to live healthy lives.’

Prime Minister, David Cameron, said: ‘I would like to thank everyone involved in the vital work London’s Air Ambulance has done over the last 25 years to help deliver life-saving treatment to thousands of people. It is a charity that has become very close to the hearts of all Londoners, as I am sure the many dedicated people who help to run the service to keep it operating will attest.’

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 27 January 2014.

Prime minister meets ambulance staff in wake of floods

Following the devastating floods which hit the east coast of Britain earlier this month, Prime Minister David Cameron has met with Robert Flute, head of resilience and special operations for East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST), and chair of the Norolk Resilience Forum (NRF), whilst he was visiting to see the impact of the flooding on communities.

Described as the ‘most serious’ tidal surge for 60 years, thousands were forced to abandon their homes as tides in part of the North Sea reached higher levels than the damaging floods of 1953.

Mr Flute led the county’s preparations for the flooding, which included an exercise last month playing out a very similar scenario as part of the ongoing programme of work the NRF does.

Robert Flute said: ‘It was a privilege to meet the Prime Minister. He was very interested in how the ambulance service worked closely with other emergency services and partners last week and the work Norfolk Resilience Forum has done around preparing for adverse events and educating the public about what they can do in such situations.

‘The response of the ambulance service last week was first class. We were well prepared to deal with the flooding and work alongside our fire, police and council colleagues. This is thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff and managers, and the plans and preparations we have in place to deal with a range of major incidents, such as last week’s flooding.’

Crews from EEAST helped to evacuate the most vulnerable in coastal areas of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex by utilising its hazardous area response team and non-emergency transport services.

Taken from Journal of Paramedic Practice, published 16 December 2013.