Conservative leader David Cameron is to pledge to divert NHS resources to deprived areas.
Mr Cameron (pictured) will attempt to counter the Tory image as the party of the rich at the start of what could be a five-month election campaign.
He proposes to give mothers “real choice” over the kind of childbirth and other services they want.
Mr Cameron will say his administration would divert a higher share of NHS resources to boost health in run-down areas. The move is in sharp contrast to the Tories’ manifesto at the 2005 general election, when the party was offering to subsidise those who chose to have their treatment in private hospitals.
There will also be a commitment to introduce “maternity networks”, which would link community-based maternity units with more specialist hospital care.
Mr Cameron and Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley will reveal the details of the policy as they publish a chapter of the party’s draft manifesto at an event in London.
The Tory leader has gone to great lengths to stress his personal commitment to the NHS, promising health budgets will not be subject to the same cuts as other departments.
But Labour insisted only it can be trusted to protect the healthcare system, claiming the Tories would make fundamental changes that would affect the poor.
Copyright © Press Association 2009
Do you trust Mr Cameron and the Conservatives with the NHS? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
“Trust in politicians is at an all-time low but what choice do we have? A better option would be to have startegy/policy decided by the government (that’s why we elect them) and executed by an independent management board comprised of NHS specialists who understand the workings of the NHS and its constraints. Giving us some consistency would be a great start instead of chopping and changing at every opportunity to make political capital” – Name and address withheld
“If only Labour can be trusted with the health service we are in real trouble. How many targets and how much bureaucratic claptrap has been inflicted these last years? How much (I would suggest very little) has actually made a positive difference to patient care? I am in one of the most deprived practices in the country. We hit immunisation targets but fail by less than 2% to hit cytology targets so I have to have a meeting and explain that to the PCT – my time would be better spent trying to get patients in for smears etc. Madness. Having said that, they are all as bad as each other. I do not trust any politicians with the health service or anything else, which is the saddest comment of all” – Name and address withheld