Conservatives pledge to maintain NHS funding ring-fence

The Conservatives would maintain the NHS spending ring fence for a further five years if elected in 2015, David Cameron has said.

David Cameron: NHS pledge (Photo: David Devins)

Addressing his party conference in Birmingham, the prime minister said a Conservative government would make real-terms spending increases, in a repeat of a the policy commitment made for the 2010 election campaign.

The prime minister accused Labour of spreading lies about the Conservatives' policy in the NHS. 'And I just think, how dare you,' he said, blaming the opposition for the Mid Staffs scandal.

Personal NHS commitment

'And for me, this is personal,' he added, describing his own family's reliance on the health service. He said: 'How dare they suggest I would ever put that at risk for other people's children. How dare they frighten those who rely on the national health service'.

The Conservatives could be proud of protecting the NHS budget, funding 6,500 more doctors, 3,300 nurses and a cancer drugs fund, he said.

The NHS, he said, was leading the world in genome technology because of government investment.

Protecting NHS budget

'All this is only possible because we've managed our economy responsibly, and that is why I can tell you this today. We will do it again. The next Conservative government will protect the NHS budget and continue to invest more, because we know this truth - something Labour will ever understand, and we will never forget: you can only have a strong NHS if you have a strong economy.'

Yesterday, health secretary Jeremy Hunt promised the Tories would train and retain 5,000 extra GPs, and spent £500m rolling out 8am till 8 and weekend appointment schemes across the country.

Mr Hunt also announced the agreement in the 2014/15 GP contract to give every patient a named doctor responsible for all out of hospital care.

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