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Call for partnership of NHS & social care

By Gedling's Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate Robert Swift

Robert Swift Parliamentary Candidate for Gedling Constituency

In recent weeks the NHS and the social care system have made headline news- commentators have referred to the social care system as being at a tipping point with the government failing to provide any additional funding during the Autumn Statement. After Christmas the NHS was described as being in a "humanitarian crisis" by the Chief Exec of the British Red Cross. It's clear that things cannot carry on in the same manner and politicians of all parties need to think of ways to address this problem.

Pressure on social care

By 2020 the Health Foundation has estimated that there will be a £6 billion funding gap in social care. By providing extra funding for social care now this will take a great deal of pressure off the NHS. One of the main problems that the NHS faces is the 'blocking' of hospital beds due to the difficulty of the social care system to find suitable homes for mainly elderly people leaving hospital. As well as more funding however a once in a generation settlement of the health & social care system is now needed. Treating the NHS & the social care system as two separate systems just isn't working.

Report shelved

Before the 2015 General Election Liberal Democrats in government endorsed the much heralded Dilnot Report which would have provided a cap on individuals' care costs of £35,000, after which the state would pay. Currently, individuals who do not fit means-tested criteria can be liable for unlimited costs. After the General Election the Conservative government quietly shelved this Report.

Cross party agreement

Last year Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson and former care minister Norman Lamb launched proposals for an unprecedented cross party non-partisan commission into health & social care. This proposal was endorsed by both Conservative & Labour former Health Secretaries. Many commentators also backed this proposal including NHS Survival - a group of 8,000 doctors, patients and members of the public who are committed to ensuring the survival of the health service.Last summer Norman Lamb and his cross party colleagues presented an initial report to the government but since then there has been deathly silence from the government. The longer the government delays the greater the crisis that we are facing. The time to act is now.

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Published & promoted by Robert Swift on behalf of The Liberal Democrats, all at 2 South View Road, Carlton, Nottingham. NG4 3QL