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Liberal Democrat election pledges on health and the NHS

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What has the Liberal Democrat Party pledged about the NHS ahead of the general election?

What are the key pledges made so far by this party on health and the NHS?

Nursing Times has analysed the pre-election speeches and policy announcements of the main parties ahead of the election on 7 May.

Read below to find out what the Liberal Democrats have said about health and the NHS, and then compare it with the other parties in the special election section of our website.

 

What key pledges have grabbed the headlines?

The Liberal Democrats were the first party to publically commit to the full £8bn investment required to help plug a projected funding gap in the NHS over the next five years.

The party has also committed to achieving equality for mental health within the NHS and to push the integration of health and social care services, in line with the long-term goals of Norman Lamb, the party’s representative in the Department of Health.

 

What has the party promised on workforce issues?

Speaking a recent event, care minister Mr Lamb committed to set up a fundamental review of nursing establishment, including the care sector.

The NHS workforce should also be given more control over the way services are provided to both make them feel more valued and improve care, with everyday staff on the board of each foundation trust, he said.

 

What has the party promised on integration?

Restating a long-term ambition, Mr Lamb said at a hustings event last month that he wanted to see “joined up” care provision based around the needs of patients, with more of a focus on prevention in the future and increasing numbers of patients treated in their homes.

The care minister promised he would establish a “department for health and care” in London, with local health and social care budgets pooled by 2018 to move towards a single budget overall.

 

What has the party promised on mental health services?

The Liberal Democrats have pledged further investment of more than £2bn in mental health if they were to win the general election.

Launching its “manifesto for the mind” in March, the party said it planned to put an extra annual £250m towards mental health in 2016-17 and 2017-18, which would increase to £500m more per year for the following three years.

It would be on top of the extra £1.25bn for children’s mental health over the next five years that was announced as part of the Coalition government’s budget earlier last month.

 

What has the party pledged to do for NHS finances?

The Liberal Democrats were the first party to commit to meeting the £8bn funding requirement by 2020 that was outlined in the autumn by health service leaders in the NHS Five-Year Forward View.

The party made the pledge back in January and has repeated it, but has not yet accounted for where all of the money will be sourced.

The pot includes the £2bn announced in December’s autumn statement, much of which was funded via underspending in other departments and reallocations of existing DH cash into the NHS commissioning budget.This will be topped up with an extra £1bn from 2016-17 onwards.

However, the party has not explained where the remaining £5bn will come from. Leader Nick Clegg has indicated the outstanding balance would depend on the budget deficit having been eliminated by 2017-18, and the economy growing.

Royal College of Nursing

Care minister Norman Lamb speaking at the RCN hustings event

  • This page will be updated during the election campaign, as more policies are announced

 

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