Unknown Wouldn’t that be a great headline in Fridays red tops? We can live in hope. This election has been more about women than any other since Margaret Thatchers reign term. There were 3 women in the much talked about televised debate – and maybe they changed the way future debates are conducted?  it was certainly more friendly and inclusive than previous debates.  Nicola Stugeon has put the SNP firmly on the front page (even if it was on a wrecking ball) and Natalie Bennett heading up the Green Party. Thank goodness the tradition of wheeling out the other halves as an accessory seems to be fading –  they must all be busy with their legal careers as we have seen remarkably little of Justine Milliband and Miriam González Durántez (Nick Cleggs wife). Samantha has made a few appearances with David, only to be criticised by the press for not painting her toe nails! So, who are you going to vote for?

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Women’s concerns at this election are said to be; the economy, the NHS, immigration and what is at stake in this election.

On Women’s Hour this week they had an election special. The women representing their parties were; Theresa May, Conservatives; Harriet Harman, Labour; Baroness Sal Brinton, Liberal Democrats; Diane James, UKIP; Eilidh Whiteford, SNP; Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru; and Caroline Lucas, representing the Green Party. As the manifestos are quite lengthy they concentrated on one area – the NHS. The question was, “what will you do for the NHS”?

The responses were as follows;

TM (Cons) was first – her response; £30 billion is needed for the NHS (she didn’t say over how long) – and that there was a gap of £8 billion for the funding, she went on to say that the Conservatives were committing to plugging that gap.

EW (SNP) – they will concentrate on preventative care, tackling the challenges of an ageing population by integrating health and social care. She also pointed out that the funding gap was £9.5 billion if you take into account the whole of the UK.

HH (Lab) – increase funding for the elderly by setting up a ‘Time And Care’ fund enabling elderly people to get care in their own homes, thus reducing the demand for hospital beds.

BSB (Lib Dems) – reorganise the service, concentrating on preventative treatment to ensure that stays in hospital are reduced, when asked about privatisation she said they did not see it as an issue-  as it’s only a tiny percentage (less than 5%).

LW (Plaid) – concentrate on the Welsh (no surprise there!) – recruit a 1,000 doctors – which they would pay for with a tax on sugared drinks.

CL (Green) – recruit more nurses and increase training to avoid the cost of agency staff, looking at prevention and investing in GPs.

DJ (UKIP) – concentrate on who gets care in the NHS, priority service for UK citizens and introduce an insurance to be paid for so-called NHS tourists.

There were a couple of good jibes – Harriet Harman said to Theresa May – “You’re not in politics to improve public services – we are” to which Theresa May responded with the inevitable “May I remind you it was Labour who left the note, there is no more money! The NHS is now changing procedures internally to charge for short term overseas residents for NHS care” (if that’s true, UKIPs policy falls a bit flat).

So there you have it, a snap shot of what women in politics had to say about one of the biggest issues that women in this country care about. Has that changed your mind or has it simply made it up? Has the electioneering made any difference to you?

Here’s a link to the programme in case you want to hear it for yourself; http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05s33xg S

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