What do the pre-election manifestos hold for people with asthma?

We analyse the manifestos of the main political parties to see just what they’re pledging.

When the election was called, Asthma + Lung UK issued our own mini manifesto – our three key asks for the next government.  A big thank you to the hundreds of you who have already emailed your local election candidates to help put asthma firmly on the agenda.

With voting day almost upon us, don’t miss out on your chance to have your say. Email your local candidates today!

As well as emailing your local election candidate, there are still plenty of ways to make sure that your voice is heard, from engaging in TV debates to calling your local radio phone-in, attending local hustings and putting your asthma question to local candidates on the doorstep.

So… what do the manifestos say?

Now that all three main parties have published their manifestos, it’s time to take a look and see what they are pledging for people with asthma.

Stop unfair asthma prescription charges

The Labour Party have pledged to abolish prescription charges for everyone including people with asthma. This would bring England in line with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Liberal Democrats have committed to reviewing the prescription charges medical exemptions list. They would, if elected, make prescriptions free for people with mental health conditions which could help some people with asthma. The Conservative Party have not addressed prescription charges in their manifesto, choosing instead to focus on social prescribing.

Fund research into new treatments for asthma

All the three main parties have pledged to increase research and development spending in the economy and for the UK to be a global hub for life sciences and attract more private investment. The Conservative Party have emphasised international collaborations including the prioritisation of artificial intelligence, a significant opportunity for asthma research as it can help to unlock the complexity of the condition. The Conservatives have also committed to continued participation in EU agencies and funding programmes which Labour have also pledged to support, potentially protecting funding for international asthma research if or when Brexit happens. If Brexit does not happen then access to these funding programmes would remain unchanged.

The Lib Dems are seeking to create more innovation and technology centres while simplifying the regulatory landscape, which could enhance research and the numbers of those researching asthma. Labour also want to create an “innovation nation” through more direct research and development support and reform of the innovation ecosystem, encouraging more investment in priority areas that could support further research into asthma. Labour has also proposed changing patents for new medicines, which could improve access to new asthma treatments but has also been criticised for undermining the medical research industry.

Promote asthma care that’s supported by digital innovation

All of the three main parties have pledged to use more digital technologies in healthcare but remain silent on the detail and funding. The Conservative Party place more emphasis on the use of frontline technologies, which can improve asthma care by enhancing patient experience and enabling clinicians to work more flexibly. They plan to promote the use of digital technologies in the health sector through an annual health technology summit.

Both the Labour Party and Liberal Democrats focus more on the ethical use of digital technologies, with Labour pledging to restrict how NHS data is used by international technology and pharmaceutical corporations for shared benefit purposes.

Have your say

Asthma effects 4.3 million adults in the UK – together we are nearly one in ten voters in every constituency! Make sure people with asthma are heard and email your local candidates today.