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2017 Election
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Health and social care election tracker

How are health and care issues shaping the political landscape as we head towards the 2017 general election?

The story so far

may 2017

Parties’ health spokespeople make pitches on Today programme

31 May 2017

Each of the main parties’ health spokespeople are given 30 seconds to set out their plans for the NHS on Radio 4’s Today programme. 

The Conservatives’ Jeremy Hunt argues that investment in public services depends on a strong economy and that Theresa May is best placed to negotiate a good Brexit deal that would allow the government to increase NHS spending.

Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth pledges a front-loaded spending increase, a pause in sustainability and transformation plans to allow public engagement, and to repeal the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

Norman Lamb says the Lib Dems would increase health spending by £6 billion a year funded by a 1 per cent rise in income tax; subsequently they would introduce a dedicated health and care tax informed by the recommendations of a new Office for Budget Responsibility-style organisation for health.

Tim Farron

Lib Dems’ manifesto pledges £6 billion a year extra for health and social care

17 May 2017

The Liberal Democrats launch their manifesto, including the promise to raise an extra £6 billion a year for health and social care by increasing income tax by 1p.

In the long term, this would be replaced by a dedicated Health and Care Tax, potentially based on National Insurance, and they would also establish a cross-party health and social care convention to review the longer-term sustainability of the health and social care system.

A new agency similar to the Office for Budget Responsibility would report every three years on how much funding was needed, and they would aim to bring NHS and social care together, pooling budgets in every area by 2020. 

Like Labour yesterday, the Lib Dems would guarantee the rights of EU nationals working in the NHS and social care to stay in the UK, end ‘the public sector pay freeze’ for NHS workers, and reinstate nurse bursaries. 

On mental health, they would ringfence funding and extend waiting times standards.

Norman Lamb

Liberal Democrats set out plans for mental health care

12 May 2017

The Lib Dems announce proposals to improve mental health care. Health spokesperson Norman Lamb says the party is ‘committed to ending the historic injustice against people with mental ill-health’.

The pledges include:

  • extending waiting time standards for mental health care
  • increasing provision for new mothers and people with eating disorders
  • helping schools to promote good mental health through training teachers and better access to counselling
  • ending out-of-area placements for acute patients by the end of 2018
  • incentivising employers to promote staff wellbeing.

The changes would be funded by ring-fencing £1 billion of the additional £6 billion the party plans to commit to health care.

This follows the Conservative Party’s recent announcement of its mental health plans.  

Lib Dems say PrEP should be made available on the NHS

10 May 2017

Norman Lamb, health spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats, says they would make pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) – a drug which helps prevent the spread of HIV – available on the English NHS to high-risk groups.   

While PrEP has been approved for use in Scotland, it is not currently available on the NHS in England. National bodies are undertaking a three-year clinical trial to understand how it can be most effectively rolled out. 

The King’s Fund recently published a report on the future of HIV services in England. This called for national bodies to work as quickly as possible to progress from the trial to an implementation plan for PrEP because although the incidence of HIV has fallen overall, it is increasing among some groups.  

Tim Farron

Lib Dems pledge 1p on income tax to fund health and care

6 May 2017

The Lib Dems propose increasing income tax by 1p in the £1 to raise more money for the NHS and social care.

The Lib Dems say the proposal, reminiscent of the party’s 1997 election pledge to raise income tax by 1p to increase education funding, would raise an extra £6 billion.

‘This is an average of £3 a week for the average earner in this country,’ says Lib Dem leader Tim Farron, ‘so a pint of beer a week to pay for a health and social care service that will last us from cradle to grave.’

The proposal is part of a five-step plan on the NHS and social care that includes establishing a cross-party health and care convention and introducing an independent body to monitor and report on health and care budgets.

Norman Lamb

Lamb reveals plans for general practice

3 May 2017

In an interview with Pulse, health spokesperson Norman Lamb sets out how the Lib Dems would drop plans to enforce routine seven-day GP appointments across England and increase funding for general practice.

Mr Lamb said a Lib Dem government would allow GP practices to decide the best way of extending access to services.