Health and social care election tracker
How are health and care issues shaping the political landscape as we head towards the 2017 general election?
Parties’ health spokespeople make pitches on Today programme
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.
Liberal Democrats set out plans for mental health care
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:
waiting time standards for mental health care
provision for new mothers and people with eating
schools to promote good mental health through training teachers and better
access to counselling
out-of-area placements for acute patients
by the end of 2018
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
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.
Lib Dems pledge 1p on income tax to fund health and care
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.
Lamb reveals plans for general practice
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