Across the nation, the NHS and social care services are in a state of crisis. When people turn for help, too often help is not there.
The Conservatives haven’t faced up to the problem. Waiting times have increased, staff feel undervalued, mental health is viewed as a poor relation and 1.2 million elderly people are not getting the care and support they need.
On every recordable measure, the NHS is facing more and more challenges. Turning around the NHS is a big ask.
Extra Funding announced by the Tories is Insufficient
The cash boost for the front line announced as part of a 5-year plan by Theresa May has helped. But, as many analysts predicted, it has barely been enough to keep up with the increased demand for patient care, let alone reverse the backlog of operations or improve A&E. Boris Johnson has announced his own £1.8bn funding increase but for buildings and equipment and the jury is out as to whether it really is new money. £1bn actually comes from surpluses built up by hospitals in earlier years which they were not allowed by the Tories to spend https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-49292013
Our Local Health Trust is failing on every Target
Of the 5 key areas set out to measure the performance of NHS Trusts our local Trust (East and North Hertfordshire) has missed every target and comes close to the bottom in the rankings for most of the targets. We are below the average performance for England in all but having planned operations and care within 18 weeks of referral and even there we missed the target. Our Trust is currently classified by the Care Quality Commission as “requires improvement”. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-41483322 We are reliant on the skills and goodwill of many staff from European Countries to keep our health services afloat- what will happen if they are made, or decide, to leave the UK?
As a parent, I value being able to get an appointment with my GP when I need one for my son. I also know from talking to local people that I am lucky to be able to do that and many of us have real difficulties in getting an appointment. As a health professional myself I know how much pressure every part of the NHS is under and it saddens me to see people not being able to get access to the services they need.
As a midwife and midwifery lecturer, I see students having to give up on their courses because they are unable to fund themselves as they have to work a full range of shifts as well as study which means they are unable to earn money to support themselves while they qualify.
We are unable to meet our current needs for social care with 1.2 million elderly people not getting the care and support they need. As our population ages, we have to have a solution to this. The Tories acknowledge that this is an issue but continue to kick the can down the road – much as they do around mental health.
What about Mental Health?
I am passionate about ensuring that there is equal focus on mental health treatment as on physical health. As a midwife, I am well aware of the risks to mental health around the birth of a child and the need for support for women who have had a miscarriage or stillbirth as well as new mums.
According to briefing paper 6988 in the House of Commons Library (25//04/18)
• An estimated 1 in 6 people experienced a common mental disorder like depression or anxiety in the past week
• Total spending on mental health in 2017/18 was planned to be a 0.4% reduction in real terms on the previous year
What will the Liberal Democrats do about Health and Social care
The Liberal Democrats are the only party with a clear and sustainably funded plan for the NHS and social care. We will build a better-integrated health and care system that is prepared for the future, provides quality care and values and respects our health workforce. We will
• Add 1p to the rate of income tax to raise £6bn additional revenue ring-fenced to be spent on NHS and Social Care services with a structured investment plan that ensures the most effective way of spending the money.
• Join Health and Social Care together under one budget and department
• Value our NHS and Social care workforce ending the public sector pay freeze, guaranteeing staff who are EU nationals the right to stay in the UK and reinstating student nurse bursaries
• Invest in equal care for mental health
• Promoting easier access to community health services such as GPs
• Invest in helping people to stay healthy
To read more about the Liberal Democrats policies on Health & Social Care go to https://www.libdems.org.uk/health
What Can You Do?
If you elect me as your MP I will use my experience as a health professional to fight to get the investment in health our Constituency needs. Help us to deliver better for Stevenage by voting for me in the General Election.