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£1.5bn NHS funding should be an Autumn Statement priority says Norman Lamb

November 11, 2014 5:00 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Liberal Democrat health minister Norman Lamb is calling for the government to free up as much as £1.5bn to invest in the NHS in 2015/2016.

Norman wants to see the government make NHS funding a priority in next month's Autumn Statement.

He is also calling for extra funding to focus on improving mental health care, particularly for children and young people, which is a key priority for the Liberal Democrats.

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Norman said that delaying funding issues for 2015/2016 until after the General Election would betray patients and politicians should instead secure the money needed now.

The funding would be in place from April 2015. After next year, Liberal Democrats want to invest at least £1bn extra each year of the next Parliament into the NHS.

This extra funding would also meet the objectives of the Better Care Fund, bringing together health and social care, and recognising that we need to focus more on preventing ill health.

Norman Lamb said:

"Liberal Democrats want to create opportunity for everyone by building a stronger economy and a fairer society. That means properly funding our NHS for the future, and providing better care, both for physical and mental health.

"But this needs to start straight away. Too often politicians take the easy way out and delay big spending decisions in the hope they become someone else's problem. Doing that would betray patients. The NHS needs significantly more money to help trusts adapt to the changing needs of our population and it can't afford to wait.

"That's why securing extra money for the NHS must be a high priority for the whole Government in next month's Autumn Statement. And we want at least an extra billion pounds put in every year in the next Parliament too.

"A significant amount of that needs to go on improving mental health services, especially for children and young people. For too long mental health has been seen as a second class issue in the NHS and the Liberal Democrats are determined that changes.

"The Liberal Democrats are the only party that will invest more in our public services once we have finished the job of clearing the deficit in 2018.

"We are the only party putting equality for mental health treatment front and centre of our manifesto, with £500m of extra funding.

"And we are the only party calling for real improvement from the bottom up, joining up health and care to give people care closer to home. The NHS and care need both resources and reform - not top down reorganisation but change driven by local needs to improve out-of-hospital support."