LibLink: Norman Lamb: Time for honesty about future funding of our NHS

Liberal Democrats have been talking a lot about health and social care this week. In the Yorkshire Post, Norman Lamb argues for an urgent change of direction to give the NHS a sustainable future which meets our needs.

First he seems out the crisis facing the NHS.

But it seems this Conservative Government has become increasingly ambivalent to the state of our health service. In Yorkshire, vital A&E wards in Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Scarborough are all at risk of being closed or downgraded – it’s the same over the border at Darlington. Communities are set to face even longer waits for emergency care, including those in rural areas who may soon have to travel hours to receive treatment. These changes are happening for a simple reason – this Conservative government is failing to give the NHS and care services the cash they need to cope with rising demand. To make matters worse, local people on the ground are not being given a say into these decisions which will have a huge impact on their lives. The stark reality is that we are seeing the gradual downgrading of our health service taking place behind closed doors.

He attacked the use of well-paid consultancy firms drawing up cuts in services with no consultation of the public.

So what is the solution? It’s two-fold. First of all a cross party commission:

To overcome these problems, we need to work across party divides and have a full and frank debate that fully involves local communities across the country. That is why I am calling for a cross-party NHS and Care Convention to engage the public with the aim of delivering a long-term settlement for the NHS and care. I have launched a petition which now has over 16,000 signatures, calling on Theresa May to urgently seek a cross-party solution to the health and care crisis.

And it isn’t going to come free:

The public are crying out for politicians to stop shouting at each other, and instead work together to make difficult decisions to ensure that patients get the right care and treatment. That should include being honest with the public about the scale of the funding gap that our health service faces. To secure the long-term future of the NHS and care, we may all have to pay a little more in tax. The Liberal Democrats are prepared to make that case. We hope that others will join us in making it too.

You can read the whole article here.

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