Responding to the Liberal Democrat manifesto, Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive of the Health Foundation, said:
 
‘The Liberal Democrat manifesto plans are a welcome shot in the arm for the NHS, but don’t go far enough on fixing social care.

‘The money would more than double the growth in health spending seen in the last decade – bringing growth back to the long-run average, before austerity set in. This would help the NHS improve standards in the face of rising demand, especially in mental health services.

‘The biggest challenge facing the NHS at present is the acute workforce shortage, running at around 100,000 vacancies. The manifesto acknowledges this will require investment in recruitment, retention and making the NHS an attractive place to work. Yet the funding promised falls short of the amount needed for workforce training, despite chronic staffing shortages. The capital investment proposed will not be enough to upgrade the buildings and equipment needed for a modern workforce to operate effectively. Investment in public health is welcome, but the proposals fall just short of the minimum needed to address past cuts.

‘The manifesto rightly highlights the need to boost prevention, reduce unfair gaps in ill health between rich and poor, and put the objective of health and wellbeing at the heart of government decision making. The plans to increase funding for children’s centres, extend the Soft Drinks Industry Levy and tackle air pollution will all help keep people healthy. The challenge will be making the long list of ambitions a reality.

‘It is disappointing to see that reforming the broken social care system is not a top priority in the manifesto. The pledge to establish a cross-party convention identifying options could help generate consensus for reform and proposing a limit on social care costs borne by individuals is very welcome. The social care system is currently failing some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Yet successive governments have failed to muster the political commitment needed for reform. We urgently need firm action, not just a plan for another plan.’

Media contact

Creina Lilburne
Creina.Lilburne@health.org.uk
020 7664 4647 / 079 4115 6827

Collection

General Election 2019

Get the latest news, views and analysis on health and social care for the 2019 General Election

Blog

What does the Liberal Democrats' manifesto mean for health and care?

Hugh Alderwick reflects on the health and care policies set out in the Liberal Democrat manifesto

Further reading

Briefing

Investing in The NHS long term plan

A briefing analysing the challenges for health and social care following the publication of the NHS long term plan, including...

Long read

What should be done to fix the crisis in social care?

About 15 mins to read

Five messages for government about priorities and options for social care reform in England.

You might also like...

Report

Public perceptions of health and social care

This Ipsos MORI survey, conducted on behalf of the Health Foundation for the 2019 General Election, found people are willing ...

Press release

Two thirds of people want tax increase to pay for health and social care, according to new poll

A survey conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Health Foundation indicates that there is increasing public support for pay...

Working paper

'Hospital mergers increase death and harm'? Not so fast…

This paper examines the claims made in the CMA working paper on the impact of hospital competition on rates of patient harm i...

Kjell-bubble-diagramArtboard 101

Work with us

We look for talented and passionate individuals as everyone at the Health Foundation has an important role to play.

View current vacancies
Artboard 101 copy 2

The Q community

Q is an initiative connecting people with improvement expertise across the UK.

Find out more