Election policies

Recruitment Talk takes a look at the three main parties’
social and health care policies that might impact on workforce
issues. Also, because much of social and health care policies are
devolved we also look at Scotland and Wales.

• Establish 3,500 Sure Start children’s
centres by 2010 offering information, health care, family support
and 8-6 pm child care.
• Extend the early education entitlement for three and four
year-olds to 20 hours a week, with greater flexibility as to when
the entitlement may be used.
• Develop a new programme to work with parents supporting
children’s early learning and development.
• Improvement to services for young people through the DfES
five-year strategy, the Every Child Matters change programme and
14-19 reforms. The strategy includes more integrated
children’s services; earlier identification of those at risk;
greater choice of vocational routes post 14; and a crackdown on
truancy and poor behaviour.
• Appropriate resources and support from trained staff for
children with special educational needs in a mixture of mainstream
schools and special schools.

The Conservatives
• Instigate locally run support schemes for new
parents in the early months offering practical information and
guidance as well as relationships support.
• Expansion of the number of psychiatric care places for
• Suspension of the closure of special schools.

The Liberal Democrats
• Appropriate training for all teachers and teaching
assistants working with children with special educational
• Match Labour’s commitment to rolling out
children’s centres and extending preschool entitlement to 20
hours a week.
• Create a Children’s Profession with early years
teachers qualified to the same level as teachers.
• Provide training and communication networks for nannies and
childminders in early years centres as part of their aim of
encouraging greater use of childminders.

Health and social care are devolved to the assemblies. Here are
what the parties are saying in Scotland and Wales.

• It will expand the case management for people with
long-term conditions to enable them to move out of hospital with
help from their GPs. Labour will also continue with its Scottish
policy of free personal and nursing care.

The Liberal Democrats
• The Lib Dems want to build on free personal care
with investment in more community services and hospitals for older
• Creation of a fund for councils and health boards to
improve care for older people by locating different services under
one roof using powers in the Smoking, Health and Social Care Bill
to allow better co-operation and joint ventures between councils
and health boards to tackle delayed discharges.


• The Conservatives also want to address delayed discharge
and will bring health-related social services under the control of
the NHS in order to do so.
• They will also give people more control over their social
care package, and in conjunction with their GP, to choose the care
best suited to their needs from either the public or independent


• The Scottish Nationalist Party is critical of waiting times
and wants more doctors trained and to keep services local. It will
ensure that half of the membership of health boards will be lay

• Labour will continue cutting delayed discharge and
build on free nursing care for people. From September 2005 they
will begin to scrap homecare charges for the disabled.
• It will continue to fund and extend respite care, assess
carers’ needs and reform NHS practices to make life easier
for carers. And allocate necessary funds for this.


• The Conservatives will give people more control
over their social care and introduce a partnership scheme so that
no one is compelled to sell their home to pay for long-term
• They also want carers who look after elderly or disabled
relatives, including those suffering from long-term conditions, to
have more support.

The Liberal

• The Lib Dems would create more intermediate care facilities
to reduce the risks associated with cutting delayed discharge
without the necessary support. The would also build walk in
treatment centres open seven days a week to provide basic health

Plaid Cymru
• Plaid calls for more investment in the recruitment and
retention of social care staff. It also calls for greater support
for carers of people at home and free home care for disabled
• Plaid would extend nursery provision to give everyone the
chance of a place for three to four year olds.
• It also supports free personal care for older people.

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