NHS Confederation responds to Lib Dem manifesto

Niall Dickson

Responding to the Liberal Democrat manifesto, Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said: “NHS leaders will broadly welcome the Lib Dems’ backing for the overall direction of the Long Term Plan – any sort of top-down reorganisation at this stage would be a harmful and costly distraction. These proposals build on the start the NHS has made to integrating care services for patients – this needs to continue at pace, unimpeded.

“The idea of a cross-party commission for solving the crisis in social care is exactly what is needed to break the political impasse that has led to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people not getting the care and support they need. We need politicians to put aside their differences, to work in the public interest to create sustainable social care services, backed with a long-term funding settlement. However, the Lib Dems’ proposal won’t do anything in the short term to address urgent unmet need, and that is a cause for concern.

“There are other welcome ideas in this manifesto, not least the proposal to establish an independent budget monitoring body for health and care. This is an idea we called for in 2017 and would go some way to taking out the political sting from debates on future funding. But the idea for a dedicated health and care tax needs careful thinking and we would favour the continuation of the current approach, with independent forecasting from a new statutory body added in to establish clear evidence on what is needed to meet patient needs.”

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