Health

The key aspect that I think we should focus on individual well-being.  We need to concentrate on the well being of everyone throughout their life as prevention is much better than cure.

Throughout most of our lives the three main causes of morbidity are too much stress, poor diet and too little regular in-life exercise.

The four NHSs (soon to be five) of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales spend only 3% of their budget on preventative medicine.  Although some local practices are doing some ground breaking work on interactive preventative health.

Many of the policy changes to increase health are relatively inexpensive – reducing speed limit on streets is probably the most cost effective.  Banning non-zero based motorized traffic in areas and at times when safety limits on air pollution are exceed would have a dramatic effect too.  Combining social and basic health care together in a localism setting would be advantageous.  One of the key aspects – rarely talked about – is the increasing medicalization of death.  Not only can this process be demeaning to the person concerned but can also be a waste of money.  Changing the VAT rules on processed food along with simple upfront  labeling over time could have a dramatic effect.

During the last century the health of people in Elmbridge improved dramatically.  The difference between the health of people living in 1900 and 2000 is remarkable.  Most of the changes were because of the dramatic increase in wealth of the population which meant that the diet was improved along with universal potable water on tap and the building of the sewerage system.

A big change occurred during the 1920s when female deaths in child birth reduced in frequency alongside peri-natal death to infants.  Apart from these two health improvements most of the changes in the quality of life came from changes in work patterns and diet.

The impact of diseases such as measles, scarlet fever and polio were reducing long before the advent of the use of drugs.

What we have done in government What we intend to do in the next one
Capped the cost of care, so older people don’t have to sell their homes to pay. Introduce a new £250 ‘Carer’s Bonus’ so carers can take a proper break every year.
Helped people balance work and family life with shared parental leave and the right to request flexible working for all. Introduce a new ‘Carer’s Bonus’ so carers can take a proper break every year.
Improved access to talking therapies: 2.2 million patients have now been treated since 2010. Equal rights for mental health patients to get treated just as fast as people with physical health problems.
Introduced shared parental leave and flexible working for all. Encourage fathers to be more involved by expanding shared parental leave with a “use it or lose it” month for fathers to encourage them to take time off with young children.
Protected the NHS budget in real terms. NHS budget will rise by at least inflation.

 

The fundamental principle on which our health service is based is free at the point of use.

NHS Funding

Only the Liberal Democrats have committed to matching the £8bn of extra funding NHS England chief Simon Stevens say the health service needs. Neither Labour or the Tories have a credible response to the funding challenges that the NHS faces. Labour have pledged £2.5bn only to be fully introduced by the third year of the next parliament and have not committed to any additional real term increases beyond that, while the Conservatives have now made the same funding commitments to the NHS as we have they have not shown where they funds will come from – except from an expanding economy.

To achieve this boost in funding by 2020/21, Liberal Democrats will do three things:

1) We will baseline into the budget of the NHS, the additional £2bn that Liberal Democrats secured in the Autumn Statement for 2015/16.

2) In addition to this funding we will invest a further £1bn in real terms in 2016/17, as we set out at our Autumn Conference. This will be paid for by capping pensions tax relief for the richest pensioners (saving 500m), aligning dividend tax with income tax for those earning more than £150,000 (saving £400m) and scrapping the Conservative shares for rights scheme (saving £100m).

3) Once we have finished the job of tackling the deficit in 2017/18, we will increase health spending in line with growth in the economy.

Mental Health

As well as increasing NHS funding, the Liberal Democrats will also commission a non-partisan fundamental review of NHS and social care finances in 2015 before the next spending review, in order to assess the pressures on NHS budgets. We will focus extra funding on two key priorities that will help reduce cost pressures in other areas to help NHS funding remain sustainable. These priorities are:

1) Mental health. We want to end the discrimination against mental health and have pledged £500m extra a year to support this from 2015/16 onwards.

2) Prevention. Keeping people healthier for longer and supporting people to stay as healthy as possible and to receive care closer to home.