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3rd October 2019

Tory leaders announce post-Brexit science and tech plans

Conservative party leaders pledged a cash injection into the NHS and life sciences industry at the Tory party conference in Manchester
Tory leaders announce post-Brexit science and tech plans
Photo: Andrew Parsons/Parsons Media @ Flickr

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, made a £13bn hospital pledge at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester last week, with plans to commit a further £33.9bn to the NHS each year by 2023. The news follows after it was recently announced by Number 10 that North Manchester General Hospital will be rebuilt by 2030.

In an attempt to make NHS funding the key focus in the next general election, Boris Johnson has proposed, what he calls, “the biggest hospital building programme in a generation”. The five-year plan set out by Johnson, aims to deliver £2.7bn into six hospitals, with the remainder of the funds being used to set up rural hospitals and projects.

However, some experts have questioned the project, saying that those six NHS Trusts to benefit will be ones who already had plans in place to improve hospitals.

The projects, which were announced at the conference, focused on trialling a new approach to NHS mental health treatment in 12 areas of England, including housing and job support, as well as psychological aid. Other projects include investing into replacing NHS equipment such as MRI, CT scanners and breast cancer screening devices.

The £70m that will be injected into the mental health project has the aim to create strong ties between the NHS and local charities. The funding will also be used to recruit around 1,000 extra specialist staff with different expertise.

After citing the science sector as an “enormous strength”, a further pledge has been offered by Johnson, unveiling a £200m scheme which aims to boost the UK’s health and life sciences industry. This was announced as part of Johnson’s vision to have a “vibrant post-Brexit economy fuelled by science and technology”, which he believes will attract more young scientists to the UK.

The funding, announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, is set to come from taxpayers directly. This will reduce the number of contracts given out to private firms, thus allowing the government to make payments over time instead.

Also speaking at the Tory conference, Matt Hancock claimed to be taking the problems with child vaccinations in the UK “very seriously”. As discussed in a recent article by The Mancunion, the UK has been declared as no longer measles-free, after a rapid decline in the uptake of the MMR vaccination.

Hancock, speaking to the Huffington Post at the event stated: “The worst thing is if you don’t vaccinate your child and you can, then the person you are putting at risk is not only just your own child, but it’s also the child that cant be vaccinated for medical reasons.

“Maybe they have cancer and their immune system is too weak.

“I don’t want the debate to put people off because there is absolute clarity on what the science says and what the right thing is to do.” Hancock also questioned whether unvaccinated children should be banned from schools, until vaccinated.

Although plans have been given the ‘go-ahead’ by Tory leaders to set the NHS in the right direction, members of the public have expressed some doubts.

Johnson claimed this weekend in Manchester that “money is available now and that’s thanks to the decisions that we took to keep burying down on our debt and the hard work of the British people” which has been questioned by locals, who believe it could be just another misleading declaration to win a general election campaign.

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