Can you provide an assurance that the Conservatives would not compel people
to have their medical records stored on a computer system? MARCUS
WILLIAMSON, BY EMAIL
No. Many GP practices and hospitals are now operating on the basis of creating
records only in electronic formats. What I can assure you of is that we will
stop the automatic uploading of data to a central server with it being
available across the NHS network without patients’ consent. Patients should
have a right to opt out of data-sharing. We will also enable patients to
exercise more control over their own records.
First, how will a Conservative government get more money into the NHS? Will
it be through taxation or insurance funding by stealth? Second, is the
rumour that waiting lists are not guaranteed to stay at the current
historically low levels under a Conservative administration well-founded? BOB
RICHARDSON, BY EMAIL
We are committed to an NHS funded through taxation available to all based on
need, not ability to pay. On your second question, because we are committed
to increasing NHS capacity and improving results, and making hospitals
accountable to patient choice, waiting lists and times should fall. The
reduction in waiting lists has essentially been the result of capacity
increases, not Labour’s tick-box targets. Most importantly, the priority for
treatment should be based on clinical judgement and clinical priority, not
central political targets.
We know from America that multiple healthcare providers equals massive
administrative costs, huge profits for private providers and poor healthcare
for the general population (but excellent healthcare for the rich). Is this
the Conservative vision of the NHS of the future? MARTIN NORRIS, LONDON
No. The Conservative vision for the future of the NHS is to combine equitable
access to healthcare for all, with health outcomes as good as any in the
world, based on a service which is responsive to patients’ needs and wishes,
with enhanced responsibility for clinicians who are more accountable for the
quality and results they achieve.
GPs willingly accept that their pay deal was ridiculously overgenerous.
Will you reduce their wages to more sensible levels? ANDREW SELBY, BY
The GP contract was seriously flawed. The issue now is how to ensure that GPs
are both well-paid senior professionals, and that they have the
responsibility for the management and care of their patients which should go
With the knowledge that the NHS has debts running into billions of pounds,
don’t you think it’s time for this Government to take full responsibility by
taking over the NHS, thus controlling it, looking at where finance is best
placed and thereby reducing a risk such as seen with the world banking
deficit? JILLY HEAD, BY EMAIL
Centralised control of the NHS is what led to the loss of financial control in
the NHS four years ago. The NHS is a public service and there will be public
accountability for spending and for living within budgets. But the effective
use of resources depends upon getting resources and decision-making closer
to patients and in a way that matches resources to needs more efficiently.
By doing so, we can cut the costs of bureaucracy in the service.
Roughly how many times a week do you wish that Dan Hannan kept his mouth
shut, or was a member of UKIP instead? CHARLOTTE ROLL, BY EMAIL
Why has Daniel Hannan not had the Tory Whip removed after his comments on
Fox TV (twice) about the NHS? HENRY TINSLEY, BY EMAIL
Because party discipline should not extend to the censorship of individual
Surely it is not possible for voters to trust your party with the health
service given the strength of animosity shown by elected members and the
strong right wing of your party? I speak as someone who knows that when you
need it, the health service is there for you with great efficiency. TONY
WALLIS, BY EMAIL
Voters can trust the Conservatives with the NHS because of David Cameron’s and
my personal commitments to it, and because those are shared throughout the
Conservative Party. We have shown not only how we will protect the NHS but
also how we will reform and improve it. That is why a recent opinion poll
showed that more NHS staff will be voting Conservative at the next election
than for any other party.
Were you told off for your 10-per-cent gaffe (about cuts across Whitehall
departments), which Labour has exploited ever since? A lot of Tories
consider you a liability as a consequence. Did David Cameron say as much to
you? EDWARD TETT, BY EMAIL
No. And being honest with the public about Labour’s approach to the public
finances is to our credit; Gordon Brown’s dishonesty about public spending
has been shown to be the liability.
Don’t you at least have to admit that Labour pumped much-needed resources
into the NHS after neglect under Thatcher and Major? They might have left it
in a mess, but your party’s ideological opposition to a big state, and the
implicit investment in public services, got it into a mess in the first
place. FAY MATTHEWS, BY EMAIL
NHS spending has rightly increased. The tragedy is that costs went up and
productivity went down. Labour has demonstrated that you can spend more to
get less. We have to sustain investment, but deliver reform which secures
more for less and allows growing investment to secure improving quality and
health outcomes. I don’t underestimate the impact of a rising population,
increasing numbers of older people, technology advances in healthcare and
people’s legitimate expectations for higher-quality standards of healthcare.
That is why we have made the commitment to increase NHS funding in the
How many times have you tried cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and any other
Class A to C drug? If you don’t answer ‘zero’ in all cases, we’ll know
you’re more interesting (and honest) than your leader. ANNA VAN KERR, BY
Sorry to disappoint, but the answer is zero.
The new Prime Minister of Belize called [Tory donor] Michael Ashcroft, who
is bankrolling your election, “predatory”. Is that how you’d
describe him in your dealings with him? Or did he just pass over a blank
cheque? KIRSTEN ARNOLD, BY EMAIL
Do you think you will hold a position as Secretary of State for Health once
in Government? BOYD O’DONNELL, BY EMAIL
That is a matter for David Cameron.
Cameron has said he wants some senior figures from the party in his
Government. Who would be your pick? JULIA FINCH, BY EMAIL
I would hope that a Conservative government would include senior figures from
the party. Who they will be is a matter for David Cameron. You can see
through, for example, Ken Clarke’s return to the Shadow Cabinet how David
Cameron is using the best people to secure the best preparation for
In [Tory] Cabinet meetings, is there a physical barrier between your
leader, George Osborne, Michael Gove, other Cameroons, and the rest of you? VALERIE
PENDLE, BY EMAIL
No ? we are one team.
Did you become a Conservative or were you always one? SIMIAN FORD, BY
I had no party affiliations from 1979- 87 as I was a civil servant. I became a
Conservative in the late 1980s because I could see that the Conservative
Party had transformed Britain’s economy and our standing in the world
compared to Labour in the 1980s. I marched in London in the mid-Seventies
against Labour’s cuts to education and health and I knew then that we had to
have a dynamic economy to prevent that happening again. I’m only sorry we’re
now seeing Labour recreating the experience of economic collapse leading to
public service cuts.
Where did you go on holiday this year? And what books did you take with
you? CHRISTOPHER HELLER, BY EMAIL
South-west France. I read Millennium by Tom Holland, Pompeii by Mary Beard and
Talleyrand by Robin Harris.
Do you feel strongly that Ravi Bopara should be given another shot at the
No 3 position for England [in the cricket team]? REBECCA STEWART, BY
As someone who was born in Essex and was brought up watching Keith Fletcher, I
certainly believe England can benefit from having more Essex batsmen in the
team. He is a talented player and I’d like to see him have another chance.
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