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NHS “top priority” for Tories following landslide win

Prime minister Boris Johnson speaking earlier in the year (Shutterstock)

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said the National Health Service will be the “top priority” for his “One Nation Government” following the Conservative Party’s sweeping victory in the 2019 winter general election.

With 649 of 650 seats announced, the Conservatives have won 364 seats to Labour’s 203, giving Mr Johnson’s Tories a large majority in the Commons. Several Conservative gains were in traditional Labour heartlands, such as northern England’s ‘red wall’.

In a speech made just after 7am today (Friday December 13), Mr Johnson said the Conservatives had been given a “powerful new mandate” to fulfil their manifesto pledges, chief among which is investing in the NHS.

He said: “Whoever we are, rich poor, young, old – the NHS is there for us.

“When we are sick and every day that service performs miracles.

“The NHS is this One Nation Government’s top priority.”

The party's headline manifesto pledges on health included recruiting 6,000 primary care professionals such as physiotherapists and pharmacists, alongside an additional 6,000 GPs.

The manifesto also set out plans to recruit 50,000 more nurses and build 40 more hospitals, though the feasibility of these pledges has been queried.

Pharmacy bodies: ‘Not just the Brexit election’

Community pharmacy’s representative bodies were quick to issue statements on the election result and on the role the NHS had played in the national debate prior to the vote.

PSNC chief Simon Dukes said: “Many tried to label this as the ‘Brexit election’ but concerns around the future of the NHS were also at the forefront of campaigning. Our aim now must be to help show how community pharmacy can be better utilised to reduce the pressures elsewhere in the NHS.”

PSNC will “work closely” with the Government to develop community pharmacy services, Mr Dukes added.

RPS England board chair Claire Anderson said:“The election campaign saw a huge focus on the NHS and the new Government now needs to deliver on commitments around patient care, increased funding, and growing the health and care workforce.

“This is a hugely important time for the profession, with both opportunities and challenges, and it’s crucial that the Government backs pharmacy to help deliver the ambitions of the NHS Long-Term Plan.”

Ms Anderson repeated the RPS’s call on Government to provide mental health support “to all those providing NHS services”.

Meanwhile, an NPA spokesperson said the organisation would work “with other pharmacy bodies to ensure that a consistent message reaches Ministers and officials about the need for investment in our sector.”

“The NPA will also engage with the Government about keeping costs down for small businesses and helping high streets to thrive, about which the Conservative manifesto makes a number of promises,” a spokesperson said.

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