The Liberal Democratic Party

The Liberal Democrats’ 2015 pre-manifesto argues for a stronger NHS built around the needs of patients, and highlights the need for integrated care and improved mental health services. They promise to

  • Guarantee that the NHS budget will rise by at least the rate of inflation;
  • Ensure access is based on need, not ability to pay: the NHS will remain free at the point of delivery;
  • Reform the NHS payment system to encourage better integration of hospital and community care services and better preventative care for people with long term conditions, including
    • the use of personal health budgets for those who want them, and
    • better access to technology and services to help people get care closer to home;
  • Secure local agreement on, and pooling of, budgets between NHS and social care;
  • Encourage GPs to work together to improve access and availability of appointments, including out of hours;
  • Incentivise GPs and community clinicians to work in more disadvantaged areas;
  • Act to improve the mental health of children and young people – promoting well being through schools and ensuring children and young people can access the services they need as soon as mental health problems develop;
  • Deliver genuine parity of esteem between mental and physical health, including
    • improving access and waiting time standards for mental health services and
    • establishing a world-leading mental health research fund to improve understanding of mental illness and treatments;
  • Do more to tackle the causes of ill health, including
    • promoting healthy eating and exercise ,
    • making people aware of the dangers of smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol and other drugs, and
    • helping to improve mental health and well being;
  • Invest in research and set ambitious goals to improve outcomes for the most serious life-threatening diseases like cancer and long-term conditions like dementia;

And in relation to family carers, the Lib Dems aim to:

  • Introduce a new ‘Right to Respite’ package for carers, including an annual bonus worth £250 for carers spending more than 35 hours per week or more over a 12 month period on providing care;
  • Implement the Dilnot report’s proposals for a cap on the cost of social care;
  • Develop a carer’s passport scheme to inform carers of their rights in the NHS, including free access to hospital parking;
  • Raise the amount carers can earn before loosing their carer’s allowance to £150 per week

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