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Nuffield Trust issues guide to ‘election-speak’

Following the announcement this week of a General Election on July 4, the Nuffield Trust has issued a guide to election-speak: What to look out for in a campaign speech about health and care

In terms of social care, it highlights ‘soundbite’ promises on social care, and how it would respond to politicians. For example:

“There will be a social care settlement”.
Nuffield Trust response: “Good! There’s no need for a commission, as there have been several. There’s no need for good practice research, just ask the Nuffield Trust what good looks like. So, excellent news, don’t delay, this is crucial.”

“We will bring care closer to home – investing in and organising care around the individual through neighbourhood teams.”
Nuffield Trust: What’s going to be different this time? Will there be a relentless focus on making this happen? Will there be enough investment? And as it’s an election campaign, the optics matter: will the first photo of the new health team be in a community setting or at a hospital? Will the policy speech be delivered from a hospital setting?”

“AI will save money and improve care.” 
Nuffield Trust: “Really good digital infrastructure may help – having a patient record that is coordinated and accessible across settings so patients don’t have to repeat their stories many times, and staff don’t have to search or input the same data many times, may make a huge difference. But AI won’t save us yet.”

Our staff are our greatest asset”
Nuffield Trust:How will they be recruited and retained? Is a loans forgiveness policy on the agenda? Are there real plans to implement the long-term workforce plan?”

Other typical political pledges examined include:

  • “We will bring waiting lists down by x by y date” 
  • “There will be more GPs”   
  • “We will learn from [insert name of country that is completely unlike us]” 
  • “The health service needs to be more productive and we will ensure that it is” 
  • “There will be no more money”  
  • “There will be quick and efficient spread of innovation across the NHS” 
  • “We will deliver new NHS buildings/tech/kit” 
  • We will restore NHS dentistry”   
  • “There will be no top-down restructuring of the health service” 


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