Tory Manifesto moves from giving us a hand-up to allowing us to step-up

People power is set to be the central theme of the Conservative Manifesto being launched later this morning. And this is the clear contrast between the Tory Party and the Labour Party: the Tories have moved from giving us a hand-up to enabling us to step-up; Labour have remained as the hand-out Party. And the stepping-up opportunities in health will come in different forms, from facilitating John Lewis style partnerships in healthcare organisations to demanding the publication of outcome data instead of process targets to inform patients, to real budget holding for GPs and patient-held records.

2020health itself was instigated as a response to me and my NHS colleagues’ despair at being utterly disenfranchised when it came to using our expertise to improve healthcare. Capturing the talent of the workforce and opening up opportunities for patient-professional-public collaboration is the re-enfranchisement that we have been waiting for. Yet I can hear the howls of opposition already, from the blinkered jobs-worth and the mediocre manager, previously sheltered and sure of a job and pension for life, turning wild-eyed to their union reps at the prospect of being held accountable by the people they purport to serve and having to account for their role. About time, but public sector employment terms and pensions are also in need of serious overhaul and as yet we don’t know if this will be mentioned.

Yet as I wrote in our own What Women Want Health Manifesto in March, there are still ‘demand’ giants to be slain in the NHS – neglect, risk, drift, commoditisation and conflict – and unless and until we tackle these, the NHS remains on a course of unsustainable expansion. Interestingly as the 2020health GE2010 Health Policy Tracker shows, at this stage there seems to be an emerging consensus between Tory and Lib Dem health policy. This may change tomorrow with the latter’s manifesto, so watch this space.

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About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social entrepreneur, writer, campaigner and commentator. She is based in London and is the founder and Chief Executive of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal. Through networking, technology, research, relationships and campaigning 2020health has influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. Julia studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991. Her career has included being a visiting lecturer at City University, a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital, working with south London Primary Care Trusts and as a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. She specialised in diabetes (University of Warwick Certificate in Diabetic Care) and founded Julia Manning Eyecare in 2004, a home and prison visiting practice for people with mental and physical disabilities using the latest digital technology, which she sold to Healthcall (now part of Specsavers) in 2009. Experiences of working in the NHS, contributing to policy development, raising two children in the inner-city and standing in the General Election in Bristol in 2005 led to Julia forming 2020health at the end of 2006. Julia is a regular guest on TV and radio shows such as BBC News, ITV’s Daybreak/ GMB, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions, BBC Radio, LBC and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week. She is mum to a rugby-mad son, a daughter passionate about Shakespeare, and wife of a comprehensive school assistant head-teacher. She loves gardening, ballet, Zimbabwe, her Westies Skye and Angus, is an honorary research associate at UCL and a Fellow of the RSA.
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