Liberal Democrats

F18: The NHS at 70

F18: The NHS at 70

28 members

Mover: Baroness Jolly (Spokesperson on Health and Care).

Summation: Daisy Cooper.

Conference celebrates:

  1. That 5 July 2018 marks 70 years since the creation of the NHS.
  2. That the NHS is the world's largest publicly funded health service.
  3. That the NHS has been judged the best, safest and most affordable healthcare system out of 11 countries analysed and ranked by experts from the influential Commonwealth Fund health think-tank.
  4. The extraordinary changes in life expectancy and public health that have occurred since the NHS was created.
  5. The opportunities that innovations in digitisation, artificial intelligence and automation are bringing to health and social care provision.
  6. The letter to the Prime Minister in November 2017 signed by 90 MPs from four different parties calling for the long-standing Liberal Democrat policy to create a cross-party commission to recommend how to fund health and social care in the longer-term.

Conference notes with concern that:

  1. Rising demand for services is stretching the capacity of health and social care providers.
  2. Of the 11 countries analysed in the Commonwealth Fund report referred to above, the UK put the fourth smallest amount of GDP into healthcare.
  3. The NHS is facing a funding crisis yet the 2017 Autumn Budget included only ś1.6bn of the ś4bn funding that the NHS needs for 2018-19, and did not mention social care at all.
  4. The health inequality gap in England continues to grow, and is characterised by rising levels of obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
  5. Inequalities between the treatment and funding of physical and mental ill health persist despite Liberal Democrats legislating for equality between the two when in government.
  6. The NHS still lags behind in tenth position on healthcare outcomes, a category that measures how successful treatment has been according to the Commonwealth Fund.
  7. Around 10,000 EU nationals have quit the NHS and social care services since the 2016 EU referendum including 3,885 nurses and 1,794 doctors.
  8. The fragmentation of responsibility of health and social care services amongst multiple agencies working across different boundaries means that the public cannot easily hold agencies or representatives to account, central funding is increasingly being directed at tackling immediate crises rather than investing in prevention, and there is now a gap between workforce demand and supply.
  9. New opportunities of digitisation give rise to new challenges around the capture and use and ownership of private data by a few corporations.

Conference re-commits itself to the three founding principles of the NHS, namely that it should:

  1. Meet the needs of everyone.
  2. Be free at the point of delivery.
  3. Be based on clinical need, not ability to pay.

Conference calls for the following immediate measures:

  1. A cash injection of the full ś4 billion that the NHS needs for 2018/19.
  2. A cash injection of ś2 billion additional funding for social care.
  3. Both of the above to be funded by a 1p income tax rise with revenue in England ringfenced for the NHS and social care.
  4. An "NHS passport" to guarantee the rights of the 59,000 EU national nurses, doctors and health and care workers in the UK.
  5. The re-establishment of student nurse bursaries.
  6. The creation of a national scheme of preventative blood pressure monitoring to be run by community pharmacies.

Conference further calls for the following immediate measures to address mental ill health and to protect the NHS for another 70 years and beyond:

  1. The additional ś1.3 billion that the government has said would be invested annually in mental health services by 2021 to be brought forward so that access to both adult mental health services and services for children and young people is improved as a matter of urgency.
  2. Waiting times for mental health care match those for physical health care.
  3. An end to out of area placements, ensuring those admitted to hospital for mental ill-health are able to be treated close to home.
  4. Additional resources to be made available to allow Mental Health Support Teams to be available in all schools by 2019.
  5. The creation of a cross-party Commission to agree a long-term funding solution for the NHS and social care.
  6. Measures to protect and promote community pharmacies, recognising their potential to transform well-being, tackle health inequalities at a community level, and prevent illnesses that cost the tax-payer billions of pounds each year.
  7. Better integration of health and social care services including mental health, and a joined up approach between financial planning and service and workforce planning.
  8. A review of the current capture, use and ownership of health data, with a view to making recommendations that balance the principles of assisting medical research, protecting the privacy of patients and guarding against any unjustified concentration of data ownership.

Applicability: England only, except c) (lines 58-59) which is England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Revenue raised in Wales and Northern Ireland will be spent on local priorities in those States.

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