Liberal Democrat pledge would double recent growth in health spending but falls just short of what's needed to modernise the service Health Foundation response to the Liberal Democrats’ NHS and social care funding pledge

18 November 2019

Responding to the Liberal Democrats' funding pledge, Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive at the Health Foundation, said:

‘The Liberal Democrats’ funding pledge would more than double the growth in health spending seen in the last decade. The money pledged could see total health spending grow at around 3.8% a year over the next four years – in line with the long-run average before austerity set in. According to our analysis, this would allow the NHS to maintain quality of care in the face of rising demand and improve care. But the money pledged falls just short of the 4.1% needed to invest in and modernise the health service over the course of the parliament.

‘It is encouraging to see the Liberal Democrats seeking to tackle one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS – chronic workforce shortages – and recognising the critical importance of the international staff the NHS relies on. However, the scale of the challenge means this won’t be easy. It will require investment in recruitment, retention, and making the NHS an attractive place to work.

‘The promise of more investment in NHS buildings and equipment is good, but likely to still leave the UK trailing behind comparable European countries in terms of capital spending as a share of GDP. Unclear from today’s announcement is whether the funding promised would reverse significant cuts made to the public health grant in recent years – investment which is badly needed.

‘Any credible plan must also include reform of social care, which is failing some of the most vulnerable people in our society. While today's pledge to invest is social care is welcome, it remains to be seen whether the Liberal Democrats will set out clear proposals for reform, or if this critical issue would yet again be kicked into the long grass.’ 

Media contact

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

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