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Proper investment in health and social care essential so we get the help we need when we need it says nurse and Liberal Democrats spokesperson

February 16, 2020 8:03 PM
By Ellen Nicholson
Originally published by Newcastle upon Tyne Liberal Democrats

South West Wiltshire Prospective Parliamentary Candidate - Ellen NicholsonThe Government has total failed to fix the social care system in England and to help make sure everyone receives the help they need when they need it - both now and in the future, Liberal Democrats spokesperson for South West Wiltshire and registered nurse Ellen Nicholson says.

"Everyone should be able to live a healthy life with the support they need in their local community. That means properly investing in the NHS and social care, doing more across government to promote wellbeing and to reduce inequality at every stage of life. It means making the shift from healthcare that kicks in only when people are ill to systems of wellbeing that help them to stay healthy and minimize levels of physical and mental ill-health.

"But under the Conservatives our NHS and social care services are in a state of crisis. Cuts have left hospitals and community facilities crumbling and struggling with overwhelming debts, and they have damaged the services that keep us healthy and the reality of this choice to underfund impacts our families, friends and communities daily.

"Liberal Democrats are committed to pursuing the preventative measures that will secure the future of the NHS and social care. In the recent General Election, we campaigned for 1p rise on the basic, higher and additional rates of Income Tax to raise £7 billion a year additional revenue ring-fenced to be spent only on NHS and social care services. This money could be used to relieve the crisis in social care, tackle urgent workforce shortages, and to invest in mental health and prevention services ensuring the greatest impact on the quality of care patients receive. We believe this would be the best way to raise the additional funding so urgently needed, but would be willing to consider other options. Unfortunately the Government has yet to come forward with any workable proposals.

"We also believe that the UK needs a cross-party health and social care convention to build on the existing body of work from previous conventions, select committees and the 2018 citizens' assembly to reach agreement on the long-term sustainable funding of a joined-up system of health and social care. Patients' groups, professionals, the Health for Care coalition, the public and the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would need to be a part of this work. Introducing a cap on the cost of care as provided for in the Care Act, but not so far delivered by the Conservatives would be a key starting point for Liberal Democrat participants. Liberal Democrats have also proposed a statutory independent budget monitoring body for health and care, similar to the Office for Budget Responsibility, which would report every three years on how much money the system needs to deliver safe and sustainable treatment and care, and how much is needed to meet the costs of projected increases in demand and any new initiatives - to ensure any changes in services are properly costed and affordable.

"The ultimate objective has to be to bring together the NHS, social care and public health seamlessly - pooling budgets in every area and supporting integrated care systems. We need services that work in a more joined-up way for the people who depend on them and with local democratic accountability and transparency. This means giving both Councils and Clinical Commissiong Groups the money needed

"The new Tory Government must take this issue seriously and come forward urgently with proposals to resolve the social care crisis and provide a long term sustainable solution"