The Liberal Democrats are focused on protecting our health and care system, to ensure it can continue to serve future generations. To do that, we need to recognise and address together the critical funding and capacity challenges these services face.
That’s why the Liberal Democrats are making a key policy pledge to raise an extra £6 billion a year for these vital services. The additional money would be raised by an immediate 1p rise on all rates of income tax. That would mean for Lambeth an extra £39.2million, with £26million for the NHS and £13.2million for social care each year.
In contrast, the current Government is refusing to give the NHS the extra funding it needs. At a time of rising demand, the percentage of national income spent on the NHS is set to fall. Next year alone, there will be a £2bn black hole in social care funding. The promise made by Brexit campaigners during the Referendum campaign to spend an additional £350m every week in the NHS has been resolutely broken. In fact, despite campaigning for Brexit, Kate Hoey voted in Parliament against giving that money to the NHS.
This means more pressure on A&E facilities, and NHS staff, and more people stuck in hospital beds. More people are struggling to get the mental health support they need, and older people increasingly rely on emergency support due to stretched resources in the community.
One of the most pressing crises we face is the lack of nurses. There are 24,000 nurse jobs unfilled in the NHS. The Tories’ Hard Brexit – supported by Vauxhall’s current MP Kate Hoey and Nigel Farage – will make addressing that gap even harder.
We’ve already seen 2,700 EU nurses leave the NHS in 2016. That’s a 68% increase from two years ago. The Royal College of Nursing says that the number of EU nationals registering as nurses in England has dropped by 92%.
The architect of the NHS was a Liberal politician, William Beveridge, over 65 years ago. A vote for George Turner in Vauxhall will be a vote to maintain its ideals. Back George on 8 June and he will fight to secure the rights of the 59,000 EU citizens working in the NHS today, and work with other Liberal Democrats to deliver the health and care funding the NHS needs, securing high-quality mental and physical health care for all.