• Article: Mar 24, 2017

    Here s Norman Lamb's speech from this afternoon's health debate:

    First, we condemn Theresa May for her refusal to guarantee the rights of EU citizens working in our NHS and care services to stay in this country.

    We value the vital contribution you make.

    We demand that their right is guaranteed.

    The Budget completely failed to address the dire financial situation facing the NHS and care.

    Whatever your politics, it makes no sense to spend a reducing share of our national income on the NHS as demand rises at 4% every year

    Whatever your politics, it makes no sense that in 2018/19 spending per head in real terms will actually fall as pressures grow

    Whatever your politics, surely we can't tolerate over a million older people with care needs left unmet.

    Yet this is the reality today.

    And it's not just numbers or statistics - it's the impact on people which is so disturbing. There are real consequences for families up and down our country.

    This is what the brilliant charity, Young Minds, reports from its Parents' Helpline:

    'The helpline receives calls every day from parents who are desperately trying to get support from Children's Mental Health Services. We regularly hear from parents who can't even get a referral or who have been waiting months for an initial assessment and whose children's conditions have got worse during that time. Children who have started to self harm or become suicidal during the wait - or who've dropped out of school, which not only has a big impact on their own education but also means that one of the parents has to give up their job to look after them.

    We hear from parents who've separated because of the pressure the wait is putting on the whole family.'

    This in OUR NHS. It's shameful.

    The man in North Norfolk told that the waiting time for the adult ADHD clinic is two years. What's he supposed to do in the meantime?

    People waiting in a state of acute anxiety for a cancer operation which is delayed beyond the standard maximum 62 days from referral to treatment. Across the country, this standard is no longer being met.

    Or the missed ambulance response times for patients in life or death situations, the record numbers of delayed discharges - frail older people stuck in hospital becoming more dependent.

    A system under impossible pressure.

    The awful truth is that failures of care are becoming commonplace - at a time when the Secretary of State claims that he wants the NHS to be the safest health system in the world.

    And here's the really insidious trend. More and more people, who have the funds, are opting out, fast-tracking treatment by paying privately. And who can blame them. You do what you can for your family.

    But how can we tolerate a situation where those with money can get speedy access to treatment whilst those without are left waiting. This totally undermines the solidarity of which we are all proud, that belief that in this country, you get access to treatment regardless of your ability to pay.

    And just look at how we have fallen behind other European countries in how much we spend on healthcare. Germany and France spend more than we do.

    Watch how the Tories self-righteously condemn other countries for falling short of the golden 2% share of GDP spent on defence - an international benchmark, yet seem not to care when we fall so badly behind on health spending?

    We can't carry on letting people down. We are the sixth largest economy in the world. Surely we are capable of doing better than this?

    So the Lib Dems will lead the way, showing how we can give hope to patients and to the remarkable workforce in the NHS and in care services.

    I pay tribute to the work carried out by the independent expert panel. I thank them for guiding us. Their interim report is powerful.

    An OBR for Health - an independent assessment of the amount of money needed to deliver a modern and effective health and care system - taking it out of the hands of politicians, restoring people's trust.

    And three options for providing sustainable funding.

    I have been clear that I am immensely attracted to their third option - a dedicated NHS and Care Tax, shown on your pay packet, fair between generations and progressive.

    And until such a tax could be implemented, we have to find a credible way of funding the necessary increased investment.

    I want us to consider a penny on income tax to help guarantee that our loved ones get the care they need, in their hour of need. But we must be smart on how that extra money is spent. As our expert panel has proposed, extra investment must be focused on out of hospital care and social care. We must champion PREVENTION of ill health, investing in PUBLIC HEALTH - so stupidly cut by the Tories.

    And we must invest more in mental health to end the injustice suffered by those with mental ill health.

    So Liberal Democrats will lead the way in coming up with solutions for the big challenges we face.

    But there is real urgency about the crisis we face. That's why I have brought together Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem MPs to call for the Prime Minister to establish an NHS and Care Convention.

    It was a great Liberal, William Beveridge, who proposed the NHS.

    Now, as we approach it's 70th year, the NHS is in desperate need of renewal.

    Today's Liberal party - the Liberal Democrats - must meet that challenge. We must lead the way.

  • Article: Mar 24, 2017

    The Liberal Democrats have today published the interim report by the independent panel of health experts commissioned by Norman Lamb to set out a new deal for Britain's Health and Social Care Services.

    The panel is independent of the party and is making recommendations based on the experience and expertise of its members which they hope are considered by all political parties.

  • Article: Mar 24, 2017

    The Lib Dem Spring conference has updated policy on Health and Social Care to reflect the growing crisis in that area. Our local party submitted an amendment to the policy to ensure that Pharmacy First, a scheme which allows pharmacists to use their skills and training to diagnose and prescribe treatment for certain minor ailments, is rolled out across the whole country. Where the scheme is in operation it relieves pressure for GP appointments as people with those ailments are encouraged to visit the pharmacist rather than the doctor.

  • Cllr Fiona White outside Surrey County Hall
    Article: Mar 24, 2017

    Liberal Democrat County Councillor Fiona White has written for the Guildford Dragon online newspaper about the crisis facing social care in Surrey and the recent County Council budget meeting where the Conservative administration u-turned on a 15% council tax increase.

    The trouble with Surrey County Council budgets is that councillors never see the detail of cuts until after the budget has been set. We just get broad brush figures, by department. There can be some clues along the way but, like much else in local government, the important information is behind the curtain.

  • surgeon hospital doctor medical medicine
    Article: Mar 24, 2017
    Canterbury Liberal Democrats have slammed the Government's failure to provide enough extra cash for the NHS in the Spring budget, warning that local services - such as the K&C - will struggle to cope with growing demand.
    Ahead of the budget the Liberal Democrats called for a £4 billion funding boost for NHS and care services this year. That would amount to an extra £7 million for local NHS services in the Canterbury and Coastal area, and £52 million for social care across Kent. The Budget announced by the Government will instead see the share of national income spent on the NHS fall in the coming years.
  • Cllr Carol Runciman meets hardworking NHS staff with Party Leader, Tim Farron, and Shadow Secretary of State for Health, Norman Lamb.
    Article: Mar 24, 2017

    Cllr Carol Runciman and the Liberal Democrats have called for emergency funding to keep health services from the brink of collapse.
    The Liberal Democrats passed a motion at their recent spring conference in York calling for an injection of emergency funding - particularly focused on social care and mental health services.

  • Article: Mar 24, 2017

    News broke yesterday that the Government plans to spend £20million taking children to their nearest new grammar schools whilst cutting funds from the disabled and disadvantaged general school transport budget.

    Apparently the new funding is for grammar school pupils to be ferried by taxi at a cost of up to £5,000 per student each year. All whilst reducing money for local councils providing transport for disabled children to our mainstream and special schools, by £7m pa from 2016-17 onwards.

  • Right2Work Employment Service
    Article: Feb 3, 2017

    South Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed the launch of a new employment service for those who are disabled or disadvantaged in the workplace. The service also provides support to employers.

    Tim visited Right2Work at their premises in Kendal to meet staff who work at the new employment support service which launched last month. The service provides support and guidance to anyone who is disadvantaged or struggling in the workplace, whether that be from a physical or mental disability or other barriers due to personal circumstances. The service is also designed to provide support to employers with the issues that they face. The aim is to break down barriers to employment for both service users and employers.

  • Hazel at County Hall
    Article: Feb 3, 2017

    This week at County Hall Surrey's Conservative Cabinet approved proposals for a 15% council tax rise, a referendum on the council tax on 4 May and cuts of £93 million to services in Surrey.

    Councillor Hazel Watson, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council said:

    "The Conservative administration at County Hall is asking Surrey residents to pay more for less - an unreasonable and unaffordable 15% council tax increase and £93 million of unspecified cuts in council services.

    "It is time for the Tories at County Hall to end their secrecy and to spill the beans about the £93 million of cuts which are coming down the pipeline. Councillors who have to vote on the County Council budget next week and Surrey residents who pay council tax and are served by the County Council should not be kept in the dark and have a right to know now about the cuts which are on the way.

  • Article: Feb 3, 2017

    On 'Time to Talk' Day (today, 2nd February), South Lakeland MP Tim Farron has urged the public to start a conversation about mental health issues and help break down the stigma surrounding this topic.

    In a video posted online, Tim insists that it is "time to take mental health seriously", pointing out that one in four people struggle with mental health conditions.