Tag Archives: NHS

Norman Lamb calls for a commission into the health and social care crisis

Norman Lamb Liverpool Spring conference Spring 2015 Photo by Liberal Democrats











Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Norman Lamb has launched proposals for an unprecedented cross party commission into health and social care.

Norman has received the backing from Conservative and Labour former Health Secretaries Stephen Dorrell and Alan Milburn and believes that only a full non-partisan commission will properly deal with the crisis in health and social care.

They have been joined in this call by NHS survival – a group of 8,000 doctors, patients and and members of the public committed to ensuring the survival of the health service.

The former care minister believes the commission would be a ‘Beveridge Report’ for the 21st Century, and be the first of its kind since the creation of the NHS and welfare state. Its aim is to engage with the public, staff in the NHS and care services and civic society on the massive challenge the NHS and care services face.

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The liberal case for the need to champion social services

As has become obvious to anyone who has read a newspaper or watched a news channel over the past 5 years, the NHS is straining under the weight of demand. With accident and emergency departments swamped, critical staffing levels and insufficient number of beds the national health provider is struggling to provide the excellent level of care that it is famed for. Alongside this, within the social services sector a perfect storm of an aging population, increased numbers of people living with long-term conditions, squeezed local authority budgets, discrepancies between the fees paid by private clients and local councils, high staff turnover and increased overhead costs has meant that for both systems the current situation is completely unsustainable.

While the government has already committed to increased spending on the NHS by £10bn per year in real terms by 2020/21 social care falls under the budget of local services and so they will continue to wither on the vine. As mentioned in a previous article, ‘Why we should care about Care’ both services work hand-in-hand, and a true integration could see money saved, lives improved and pressure reduced on both the NHS and local councils and their social services. 

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Privatisation: Keeping the NHS afloat


Privatisation. It’s a word which strikes fear into the hearts of progressives everywhere. Perhaps understandably so; previous governments have made a complete mess of privatising our NHS. From signing contracts for building hospitals without reading the small print to providing poor healthcare, privatisation has often been a failure.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be done though and it certainly doesn’t mean it isn’t needed. The uncomfortable truth is that our beloved NHS is unsustainable. Expenditure on healthcare has rocketed from £75 billion in 2000 to almost £130 billion in 2013. As healthcare improves, the number of elderly patients served by the health service increases. It is a vicious cycle.

So what is the liberal solution? Let’s look at the solutions politicians are currently trying. Increasing taxation regularly to fund the NHS is fundamentally illiberal and unsustainable – it puts an unnecessary and unfair burden on workers. The only other option is borrowing the funds. That is clearly also unsustainable as it is merely kicking the problem into the long grass.

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Lamb on junior doctors’ vote in favour of strike action: Government has “woefully mismanaged” negotiation

Today, it was announced that junior doctors had voted in favour of strike action by an overwhelming majority. 98% were in favour of action which will begin on 1st December.

Norman Lamb has condemned the Government’s handling of the situation and told Jeremy Hunt to do everything he could to avert the strike:

It’s a serious concern that we have reached a point where junior doctors are prepared to take strike action. The Government has woefully mismanaged this contract negotiation and Jeremy Hunt must act urgently to resolve the dispute. Everything possible must be done to avert the strike which could damage patient care.

It is legitimate to review working practices to ensure they best meet patients’ needs. However these proposals could mean less protection and a cut in pay for those junior doctors expected to work extremely long hours. That is clearly not in the best interests of patients or of NHS staff.

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LibLink: Shirley Williams tells George Osborne that he has 10 days to save the NHS


Writing in the Guardian, Shirley Williams picks up the baton passed on by Nigel Crisp, the former chief executive of the NHS, who four years ago wrote about his experiences in his book 24 Hours to Save the NHS.

Shirley explains that many of the financial woes in the NHS have been inherited from past schemes:

For example, the number of funded places for young men and women training in this country as nurses was cut by 12% – 2,500 places – in 2012. The consequent shortage of newly qualified nurses has been filled by people recruited by employment agencies. The cost of agency staff is one of the main reasons for overspending by NHS trusts. In 2014/15, agency staff cost the NHS £1,770m, a year-on-year increase of 29%.

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Lunchtime debate – should e-cigs be prescribed by NHS?

On 16th September, it’ll be 17 years since I last had a cigarette. I was one of those smokers who never really wanted to give up, who really enjoyed a cigarette. However, my consumption was a bit worrying – at least a pack of 20 a day.

It was pregnancy which forced my hand. From the moment I saw the positive test, I have not had another cigarette. That doesn’t mean that I never want one. Even after all this time, the smell can (especially after a few wines) set off all the old cravings. Giving up just like that was far from easy and I doubt I would ever have managed it if I hadn’t had that overwhelming incentive to do so. I daren’t have even one or I think that road back to a pack a day would be very short.

I had no choice but to just give up without any help other than the daily “I really want a cigarette, talk to me until the craving goes away” phone calls to various people. They were remarkably effective, by the way. In the same circumstances, that would be the same today. I wouldn’t be able to use e-cigarettes. Evidence suggests, however, that they are 95% less harmful than ordinary cigarettes and can help people give up smoking for good.

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Kirsty Williams AM writes… An ambitious Liberal Democrat plan for the NHS Welsh people need

Today at the Royal Welsh Show I launched our party’s 3 point-plan for Wales’ NHS that puts patients first.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have a wide range of policies and proposals for reforms to improve our health service, but today I wanted to highlight the three key parts of our plans for the NHS ahead of next year’s Assembly elections.

The 3-point plan is as follows:

Guaranteed access to your GP: People are fed up of finding it a real struggle to make an appointment and to access their GP.  In this day and age, everyone should be able to make an appointment easily – that is what the Welsh Liberal Democrats will deliver. We would properly invest in an ‘Access to GPs’ scheme to guarantee a prompt appointment and extend GP opening hours.

End mental health discrimination: I am proud that our party has led on this issue across the UK. Only last month the Welsh Liberal Democrats revealed that in just two years there has been a 472% increase in young people waiting over 14 weeks to receive mental health services. That is a disgrace, which is why we would oversee a culture change to ensure mental health is treated on a par with physical health. We would ensure that patients with mental health issues have an equal right to access treatments as those requiring physical care.

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