Luther Pendragon's election bulletin for members of Cancer Campaigning Group (CCG)
quote:

The Labour Party 2010 Manifesto

Today the Prime Minister Gordon Brown launched the Labour Party’s 2010 manifesto in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Some might say the location for the launch conveys in itself the significance of healthcare to the party’s campaign.

The manifesto’s preamble outlines the party’s aim to deliver a progressive Britain based on fairness, respect, decency and openness. It emphasises the importance of taking full account of the financial position Britain is in and subsequently it doesn’t include any big, new spending commitments. Instead it features a set of new rights and entitlements for patients, parents and citizens designed to drive up standards in the public sector and a determination to spend money wisely whilst also protecting frontline services.

The Labour Party propose to build a better health service by protecting NHS spending and shifting to more preventative and personal care, clear patient guarantees and greater care in the home.

Key points on cancer services
  • Cancer sits high up on the party’s health agenda; the manifesto proposes to introduce legally binding guarantees for patients including the right to cancer test results within one week of referral
  • All cancer patients will be offered one-to-one dedicated nursing for the duration of their care and the party would work with Marie Curie Cancer Care and other similar providers to guarantee everyone who needs/wants it can receive palliative care in their own home
  • The pledge for cancer patients to see a cancer specialist within 2 weeks of a GP referral and for patients with long term conditions will remain in place
  • The party will support an active role for the independent sector working alongside the NHS in providing care, particularly where they bring (unspecified) innovation to healthcare such as in end-of-life and cancer services
  • Patients with a long term condition will have the right to a care plan and an individual budget


Other key health issues
  • The process of approving new drugs and treatments will be improved to ensure they are made available on the NHS asap – all leading drugs that are available internationally will be assessed by NICE and those which are recognised as effective will be made available within 6 months of referral
  • The manifesto promises to give patients more rights and control over their healthcare with the right to choose from any provider that meets NHS standards of quality and the right to choose and book outpatient appointments
  • The guarantee that patients receive treatment within 18 weeks of seeing a GP will remain in place
  • All hospitals will become foundation trusts by giving those that already have the status new support and incentives to take over others that are underperforming
  • A National Care Service will be established to improve the way care is provided to the elderly and disabled


The manifesto can be found here: http://www2.labour.org.uk/manifesto-splash
Original Post
Luther Pendragon's election bulletin for members of Cancer Campaigning Group (CCG)
quote:
The Liberal Party 2010 Manifesto

Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, today launched his party’s four step manifesto in the City of London, with a promise to “hardwire fairness back into society”. The manifesto calls for the public to be more demanding and not to settle for low politics and broken promises.

The four pillars to the manifesto are; fair taxes, a fair chance, a fair future and a fair deal. However, the main focus at today’s launch was on the economy – clearly demonstrated by the choice of location. The Liberal Democrats promised to “come clean with voters” and confront government debt, which Treasury Spokesman, Vince Cable, claimed the Tories and Labour had treated as “the elephant in the room”.

Key points on cancer services

Frontline services, including cancer treatment will be protected. The investment will be found as a result of savings made elsewhere, namely by cutting management costs and bureaucracy, and halving the size of the Department of Health through abolishing unnecessary quangos (Connecting for Health is named as one), scrapping SHAs and reducing budgets for the other organisations

Other health related points
  • Similar to both the Tories and Labour Party, the Liberal Democrats propose making healthcare more flexible - to suit the needs of the patient rather than the institution. Also echoing the previous two manifestos, the Lib Dems pledge to achieve this by giving more power to local people:
  • Giving patients entitlements guaranteeing diagnosis and treatment ‘on time’ and if it doesn’t happen making the treatment available privately. Both Labour and the Conservatives have also promised to offer private care in this instance
  • However, there is no mention of a commitment to current waiting time targets.
  • Taking the responsibility to commission care away from PCT boards’ and creating an elected Local Health Boards that will work with local councils to perform this function. The tendering processes used by commissioners will also be improved to end any current bias in favour of private providers
  • Expanding the availability of GPs by providing more (non specified) out of hours care. Both Labour and the Conservatives promised 8am-8pm opening hours
  • Encourage preventative measures by linking payments more directly to health boards and GPs
  • Encourage community care and treatment by moving consultations into the community (where possible) and integrate health and social care services to allow patients to stay at home rather than go to hospital or long term residential care


The manifesto can be found here: http://issuu.com/libdems/docs/...rue&proShowMenu=true
Luther Pendragon's election bulletin for members of Cancer Campaigning Group (CCG)
quote:
POLITICAL OVERVIEW

This week the three main parties launched their election manifestos. Labour pledges centred around maintaining spending in order to continue the economic recovery, the Conservatives focused on their theme of ‘Big Society not Big Government’ as well as shaving £6 billion from Government spending, while the Liberal Democrats pushed the issues of Parliamentary reform and tax cuts for those earning under £10,000. Supplementary to the three manifesto bulletins set out above, please find attached a summary and comparison of the parties’ relevant health pledges.

In addition, the first of the three Leaders’ Debates took place on ITV1 on Thursday evening, covering domestic affairs. Nick Clegg was widely seen by opinion polls and the media as the big winner from the evening having seized his opportunity to be on an equal footing with the other leaders. The most extreme poll, by Populus in The Times, stated that 61% felt Clegg had won with Cameron on 22% and Brown on 17%.

ELECTION CANCER NEWS

  • The Labour Party manifesto proposes to introduce legally binding guarantees for patients including the right to cancer test results within one week of referral. All cancer patients will be offered one-to-one dedicated nursing for the duration of their care and the party would work with Marie Curie Cancer Care and other similar providers to guarantee everyone who needs/wants it can receive palliative care in their own home.
    Click here to read more (p.33)

  • The Conservative Party manifesto states that they will create a Cancer Drug Fund to ensure cancer patients have access to effective medicines quickly. They will give more people, especially young people, access to treatment for rarer cancers by changing the way that they are commissioned. The party will also look to reform the way drug companies are paid for NHS medicines.
    Click here to read more. (p.58)

  • The Liberal Democrat manifesto pledged to protect frontline services, including cancer treatment. The investment will be found as a result of savings made elsewhere, namely by cutting management costs and bureaucracy, and halving the size of the Department of Health.
    Click here to read more. (p.40)

  • In the leaders’ debate, Gordon Brown re-iterated his pledges to ensure every patient receives a diagnostic test within one week and can see a cancer specialist within two weeks, get an operation within 18 weeks and see a GP at weekends and in the evenings. David Cameron promised that cancer drugs would be available to those who need them under a Conservative Government; he criticised the UK’s cancer death rate as being worse than Bulgaria.
    Click here to read more.

  • On Thursday, Gordon Brown was confronted by a Leeds GP over Labour plans for a massive expansion of primary care cancer diagnoses. The GP said: “There certainly isn't the equipment, and I think a lot of my colleagues would find it quite difficult taking on the responsibility of making those precise diagnoses.”
    Click here to read more.

  • Claims that the Labour party had been intentionally targeting cancer sufferers with policy postcards are to be investigated by the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham. Labour has been accused of breaking data protection laws, and also of employing extremely bad taste and judgement in electioneering. They claim that the cards were sent out indiscriminately, and not just to cancer patients.
    Click here to read more.


WIDER HEALTH NEWS

  • Gordon Brown has claimed that a Conservative victory would put the NHS at risk of becoming a US-style health system during an election rally in Leeds.
    Click here to read more.

  • The new Chief Executive of the King’s Fund think tank, Chris Ham has said that the Conservatives will need “the wisdom of Solomon” if it is to promote GP commissioning while also tackling poor primary care. He said: “Given the funding constraints, whatever government we have will have to be quite tough with the British Medical Association.”
    Click here to read more.

  • The Lancet has criticised the way ministers moved to ban mephedrone and pressured its advisory body to produce the necessary evidence to act. The former “legal high” drug was given Class B status and banned after reportedly being linked to 25 deaths. Yet the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs report that recommended the ban acknowledged that there was no scientific evidence of a causal link between the deaths and the drug.
    Click here to read more.

  • It was revealed this week that the drugs sold abroad by Surrey County Foundation Hospital Trust are now listed on the short supply list of the NHS. From May to October 2009 the foundation trust sold 240 packs of the cancer drug imatinib, which is branded as Glivec. The drug has been in short supply in the UK since at least November - the month the trust now says it stopped selling it.
    Click here to read more.

Luther Pendragon's election bulletin for members of Cancer Campaigning Group (CCG)
quote:

POLITICAL OVERVIEW

The closest general election campaign of recent times continued this week, with no sign that the popular boost that Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg received after the first televised leader’s debate was just a blip. Indeed, polling after the second debate, shown on Sky on Thursday night, indicated that the race is still too close to call, with David Cameron and Clegg alternatively topping different polls. A typical result was the Guardian/ICM poll, which put Cameron on 29%, Clegg on 33% and Gordon Brown on 29%; however, it is worth noting that the margin of error on even a proper sample is at least 3 percentage points. Anything around that margin means therefore that, should the figures to carry until polling day, the result would be truly uncertain.

The Conservatives and Labour parties, after appearing slightly stunned by Clegg's success last week, still appear somewhat uncertain in addressing the Lib Dem threat. Long used to dismissing the third party as an irrelevance, Cameron and Brown have stepped up their attacks on the Lib Dems but must be mindful that, with the prospect of a hung Parliament increasingly looming large, they may well be forced to work with the Liberals after 6th May. The rightwing press has not held back, however, with increasingly vicious attacks on Clegg culminating in the Mail headline "Clegg in Nazi slur on Britain", which moved Peter Mandelson to describe the attacks as 'cheap', 'squalid' and 'disgusting'.

CANCER NEWS
  • Cameron’s claims during last week’s television debate that Bulgaria has a better rate for cancer survival than the UK has been the subject of much scrutiny in the press.
    Click here to read more.
  • Survival rates for the four most common cancers in England have improved, according to a round-up from the Office for National Statistics. More people with breast, colon, lung and prostate cancer are surviving into a fifth year if diagnosed between 2003 and 2007 than if they were diagnosed between 2001 and 2006. Several other cancers monitored over the same period also showed increased survival rates.
    Click here to read more.
  • Screening programmes for cancer are leading to over-diagnosis of the disease, causing some people to live under the shadow of the diagnosis without gaining any benefit, specialists have warned. In some cases, patients undergo unnecessary treatment causing pain and suffering in addition to the psychological burden of the diagnosis.
    Click here to read more.


WIDER HEALTH NEWS
  • The King’s Fund held a health themed election debate on Thursday 22nd April, at which cuts to hospital funding became a central focus. Andy Burnham, Andrew Lansley and Norman Lamb share a platform at the event, which was jointly hosted by the British Medical Association, Royal College of Nursing, Kings Fund and NHS Confederation.
    Click here to read more.
  • The pay of senior NHS managers is becoming an open target in election debate. In last week's television debate between the three main party leaders, David Cameron used figures from a recent study of NHS pay, asking: "How is a 7% pay rise for NHS managers helping the economy?" All three mainstream parties have proposals on public sector pay in their manifestos; meanwhile, Unison leader Dave Prentis has said that attacks on pay and pensions are likely to result in strike action.
    Click here to read more.
  • The Labour party is pledging to push through a second wave of Darzi centres should it win the general election, as the next stage in its relentless focus on primary care access. The move has been welcomed by private companies in contention to run the centres, but criticised by many GPs, who warned it would be irresponsible to expand the policy before the first wave has been evaluated.
    Click here to read more.
  • Andy Burnham has refused to rule out closing hospital accident and emergency departments in London if Labour wins the election. The Conservatives said it would mean hundreds of thousands of people would lose hospital facilities. The Liberal Democrats said there was already massive waste in NHS London.
    Click here to read more.

Luther Pendragon's election bulletin for members of Cancer Campaigning Group (CCG)
quote:
POLITICAL OVERVIEW

This penultimate week of the General Election campaign was marked by the only major gaffe by any of the three mainstream party leaders, and more widely a focus by the main parties on the economy, immigration, education and the family.

‘Bigot-Gate’ disrupted Labour’s campaign on Wednesday after Gordon Brown, who had forgotten to turn off a lapel microphone, labelled Gillian Duffy, a lifelong Labour voter who had raised concerns about immigration, as ‘just a bigoted woman’. Despite this, the first poll conducted since the incident gave no immediate sign that Labour had been damaged.

The third and final televised election debate (on the economy) took place in Birmingham on Thursday evening. Polls by YouGov, ComRes, AngusReid, ICM and Populus indicated Cameron was the winner, followed by Clegg. Whereas 25-29% of those polled thought Brown had won the debate. Nevertheless, polls continue to suggest Britain is on track for a hung parliament, with Populus for the Times showing Conservatives at 36%, Labour on 27% and Liberal Democrat at 26%.

CANCER NEWS
  • On Monday, Gordon Brown launched the Labour health manifesto. It outlined how cancer patients will have legal guarantees to see a cancer specialist within 2 weeks of a GP referral and test results within one week. It also confirmed that cancer patients will receive more care at home where possible, including dialysis and chemotherapy.
    Click here to read the manifesto in full.

  • A group of five cancer experts, including a representative of the Teenage Cancer Trust, challenged the parties to explain how they would cut waiting times for diagnosis and treatment.
    Click here to read more.

  • Students who take time out of university to be treated for cancer will now be eligible for benefits, as the result of a campaign for late teenage cancer patient Melissa Leech.
    Click here to read more.

  • A cancer patient’s chances of overruling health authorities who deny them access to drugs depends on where they live, according to a Freedom of Information request by the Sunday Times.
    Click here to read more.

  • Those diagnosed with lung cancer in England are much less likely to survive the disease than their Scandinavian counterparts, a study by King’s College London suggests.
    Click here to read more.

  • A study published in the Lancet by Elsevier says that single examination of the bowel using a tube-mounted camera could cut bowel cancer deaths by up to 43 percent among people over 55. The examination could complement the screening test currently used by the NHS, which uses stool samples to test for bowel cancer.
    Click here to read more.



WIDER HEALTH NEWS
  • Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, has announced that they would not support Conservative plans to create an independent board to run the National Health Service, in the event of a minority Conservative government.
    Click here to read more.

  • The Liberal Democrats have called for all hospitals to provide police with information when victims of knife wounds are treated in Accident and Emergency departments. Chris Huhne, their Home Affairs spokesman, claimed that three out of ten hospitals currently provide this information, but where they do, crime rates fall by 40%.
    Click here to read more.

  • Health Secretary Andy Burnham has confirmed that Labour will halt plans to close the Whittingdon hospital in Islington after a high profile campaign by staff and local MPs. The leaders of all three political parties have now committed to saving the A and E and maternity wings of the Whittingdon.
    Click here to read more.

  • The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) have claimed that none of the main parties are being honest with the electorate over the scale of reform needed. Labour responded by saying IFS comments were misleading, and that it has already set out a robust plan to cut the defecit. Both Conservatives and Labour questioned why the IFS did not include their efficiency plans in its calculations.
    Click here to read more.

  • Likewise, the National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has warned that Britons will face ‘two decades of fiscal pain’, and private comments by Mervyn King that the ‘the scale of reform needed will mean the next party in government will be unelectable for a generation’ have been aired on Australian television.
    Click here to read more.

Pendragon's election bulletin for members of Cancer Campaigning Group (CCG)
quote:
This Thursday’s General Election result appears too close to call. The polls point to a hung parliament with the Conservatives having the largest number of seats however the story on the doorstep tells of many voters still undecided. Couple that with an anticipated larger turnout than in 2005 and significant regional variations in votes and a Conservative majority is still possible, contrary to current polling.

Gordon Brown, as the sitting Prime Minister, has the first opportunity to form a new government should no party win an overall majority. It is difficult, although not impossible, to see Clegg supporting a Labour government, even with the replacement of Brown as Prime Minister. However, should the Conservatives do much worse than expected and the Lib Dems much better in the popular share of the vote, it is still a viable option particularly given Labour’s olive branch pledge to hold an early referendum on electoral reform.

Should Brown fail in his attempt to form a government, which might take several days (at least over the weekend), then it would fall to Cameron to attempt to build a government. The better the share of the popular vote the Conservatives achieve, and the nearer to the golden majority number of 326 they get, the less leverage the Lib Dems will have over Cameron.

In hung parliament territory, Cameron would be looking to get Lib Dem support for his Budget. Over and beyond that, Cameron will want to minimise the influence of the Lib Dems, while Clegg will want to maximise it. A formal coalition with shared Cabinet roles between parties looks the least likely scenario, with shared discussions around legislative plans more likely and a commitment to support the Government in a Parliamentary vote of no confidence. Ultimately, the Lib Dems will want something from Cameron on electoral reform, probably some form of referendum although a Royal Commission might be something the Conservatives propose as an alternative.

So when will we know more? The exit polls (10pm Thursday) will give a good indication of the popular vote, although they won’t be able to give an insight into regional variation in that vote. As some of the marginal seat results come in during the evening, the momentum will give a sense of the result, but ultimately it could come down to a very small number of seats. Some seats aren’t counting until Friday morning, including some marginals, such as Cheltenham, Lancaster and Fleetwood and Morecambe and Lunesdale to name just a few. If it’s truly close, we may not have a final set of election outcomes until Friday lunchtime, while negotiations over who forms the next government could run through the weekend and into next week.

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