Good health is a prerequisite to taking full advantage of life’s opportunities, and we must do all we can to help people stay healthy as well as provide high-quality care when they are ill. Mental health is just as important as physical health and we have made it a priority to deliver equality between the two.
The NHS has been the envy of the world, but it is now facing the greatest crisis in its history and we urgently need to increase its funding.
As a country, we are living longer – but that means more people are living with conditions like diabetes and dementia and they need help to live with dignity and the maximum degree of independence. We must set the highest standards in care, abolishing the artificial boundaries that prevent health and social care services working together.
Health and wellbeing are affected by far more than just the quality of health and social care services, so we will work to improve the wider factors that affect people’s health such as warm homes, clean air and access to exercise and healthy food so that everyone can have the best chance to lead a healthy life.
We strictly oppose the closing of Charing Cross Hospital.
Charing Cross Hospital is under attack. It is facing being downgraded and losing its A&E facilities, leaving an urgent care centre just 13 percent the size of the original hospital, with at least 60 per cent of the site being replaced with luxury flats. We fully support campaigns to prevent its closure.
This hospital is in a state of crisis. Conservative & Labour governments have left them chronically underfunded, while need continues to grow and patient care suffers. Social care throughout the nation is facing a funding black hole of £2 billion this year alone and more than a million older people are missing out on the care they need.
People are routinely left stranded in this hospital after they finish their treatment because the follow-up care and support they need is not available.
Liberal Democrats recognise that Britain’s health and social care services are our most treasured national institutions. Any party seeking to lead the council after this election should be prepared to take bold action to safeguard Charing Cross. This isn’t about doing the easiest thing, it is about doing what is right and what is essential.
Home not hospital: joining up health and social care
We need services that fit around people’s lives, not ones that force them to fit their lives around the care they need. This will become increasingly important as our population ages and the number of people living with long-term conditions grows. It is also more cost-effective to support people to be able to live at home rather than endure lengthy stays in hospital. We must move away from a fragmented system to an integrated service with more joined-up care and more personal budgets so that people can design services for their own individual needs. We believe this should happen from the bottom up, suiting the needs of local communities.
Better access to community services
Most people’s experience of the NHS is their local GP or the nurses and support staff who visit them at home or work in community clinics. Access to care in GP surgeries and closer to home is better for patients and will also help reduce pressure on hospitals, accident and emergency departments and ambulances.