Under this Conservative Government the UK has only become sicker and is lagging far behind its international peers. Instead of taking action they have allowed our health to decline, particularly that of children.
To make matters worse, more than 7 million people are currently waiting for NHS treatment, cancer wait times targets continue to be missed across the board, and demand for GPs services continues to outstrip supply.
50% of the health burden across the country is lifestyle induced. We must tackle this head on, to ensure that people have good physical health, mental health, and social health, and to protect our NHS for the future.
The Liberal Democrats want a healthier and brighter future for all. That’s why today, our members have passed new policy to transform the nation’s health:
1. Focus on Prevention and People’s Health: Make the improvement of the nation’s health a key priority for government, emphasising prevention, addressing inequalities, and adopting an 'invest to save' funding model.
2. Empowering Communities: Progressively restore the Public Health Grant to 2015 levels, with a proportion of these funds set aside for local communities experiencing the worst health inequalities to co-produce plans on how the money should be spent in their area.
3. Children's Health: Ban energy drink sales to under 16s, only allowing junk-food advertising after 9pm, and grant local authorities powers to restrict junk-food advertising and unhealthy food outlets near schools.
4. Promoting Movement: Launch a government-backed nationwide campaign to encourage exercise and healthier habits, dedicating an existing bank holiday for wellness events.
5. Schools and Hospitals: Implement higher food standards in schools and hospitals to ensure every child and patient receives a healthy balanced diet.
6. Vaping: Tackle vaping and smoking among children with standardised packaging, advertising restrictions and banning disposable vapes. Reduce vaping among non-smokers, while recognising the important role vaping plays in helping adults quit smoking.
7. Blood Pressure Checks: Widen access to blood pressure tests in community spaces like pharmacies and libraries to reach underserved populations.
8. Social Prescribing: Invest in community projects that counter loneliness and share best practice across local authorities, the NHS, GPs, and primary care services.
9. Digital Health: Introduce a new kite-mark for clinically proven health apps, enabling individuals to manage their own health.10. Critical Health Infrastructure: Consider a new national designation to safeguard local health facilities in times of crisis.
Liberal Democrats believe that investing in prevention through public health initiatives and primary care is the most effective way to enhance well-being and reduce the burden on NHS services.
These new policies will set us on the path to a healthier future for our country.