Lib Dem manifesto pledges £8 billion for health and care
A patient in bed, with someone holding their hand

In their manifesto, the Liberal Democrats have pledged an £8 billion package for health and care services.

Ahead of the launch and in National Carers Week, party leader Sir Ed Davey spoke about his experience caring for his mother and his disabled son.

The proposals would be funded by reversing tax cuts for banks and closing tax loopholes exploited by the wealthiest individuals. 

The plans also include giving everyone the right to see a GP within seven days and free personal care for older or disabled people at home.

In response to the launch, Matthew Taylor chief executive of the NHS Confederation said: "“We welcome the Liberal Democrats’ £9 billion rescue package for health and social care because the links between hospital pressures and problems with social care provision are well known and frustrating for leaders, staff and patients across both sectors. This is particularly the case when there are patients who are stuck in hospital despite being medically fit to leave because there is not enough support for them in the community.

“Health leaders and their teams have been working incredibly hard to keep patients safe and meet rising demand in the face of industrial action, crumbling estates and a very tight financial position. However, while we welcome the focus on improving performance, we need to make sure that as well as having the ambition, there is the right capacity to deliver it.

"Ensuring that patients can access GPs and dentists when they need them are very welcome ambitions, but delivering the 8,000 more family doctors is not something that can be done overnight. Mental health checks at key points of people’s lives to identify if they need care are a good tool to improve detection of mental ill health, but without extra treatment capacity it could just extend waiting lists. And while we welcome the ambitions on cancer, the devil will be in the details when it comes to implementing this kind of pledge. Introducing any new target needs careful planning to ensure that the result does not lead to unintended consequences and ambitions have the right incentives.

“We are calling on the next government to introduce a 12-month stabilisation plan to get NHS performance back on track as well as to commit to ensuring that the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan will be fully funded because none of these targets can be met without the workforce to deliver it. We also want to see an equivalent plan for the social care sector as well as more capital investment for the NHS to tackle crumbling estates and allow leaders to invest in new innovations and technology.”

Sir Julian Hartley, chief executive of NHS Providers said: "Liberal Democrats have highlighted the important links between the NHS and social care.

"The NHS needs overstretched social care to have meaningful reform and long-term, sustainable funding. Thousands of hospital beds every day are taken up by patients well enough to recover at or close to home but can't be discharged often due to scarce social care capacity.

"Pledges for more early access to mental health services and investment in public health will be welcomed by trust leaders.

"Liberal Democrats have highlighted too the need for greater capital investment in NHS buildings, facilities and equipment to help trusts to boost productivity and cut waiting lists.

"Hospital, mental health, community and ambulance trusts have a vital role to play in joined-up action with government to create a healthy, equitable and productive society for years to come.

"The next government and an NHS fit for the future must work hand in hand to create the picture of health we all want to see."