Health Chief Backs Lib Dem Plan for Health Care

*Former chief executive of the NHS in England and other leading health experts back Lib Dem plans to deal with the NHS funding crisis*

Original letter in The Observer available here

"Fighting for the NHS

"The NHS and social care are in a state of crisis. Hard-working, dedicated staff, who are fighting to provide high quality, compassionate care, are being undermined because these essential services are being woefully underfunded.

"As people who have worked for many years in the NHS, social care and related fields, we know the impact this is having on patients, and on staff morale, on a daily basis.

"The Government would like us to believe this can be fixed simply by asking services to find savings. But the NHS is already one of the most efficient health systems in the world. Cutbacks will not be enough to fix the deficit – not without harming patient care and causing untold damage to these vital services.

"The human cost of this crisis is already painfully clear. Waiting times are rising, there is particularly poor access for people with mental ill health and operations are being cancelled. More and more people are also unable to leave hospital following treatment because the follow-up care they need isn’t available. Ultimately, all of these factors lead to poorer outcomes.

"For these reasons, we strongly welcome the Liberal Democrats’ commitment to raise income tax by 1p, to generate additional, ringfenced revenue for NHS and social care.

"We also welcome their manifesto commitments to develop a long-term funding settlement for health and social care. Including bringing together funding into a dedicated, transparent NHS and care tax, establishing an independent body to advise on NHS and care budgets, and convening a cross-party convention on NHS and social care to work with patients, the public and staff, to deliver a sustainable funding settlement for NHS and care services.

"While some of us are supporters of the Liberal Democrat party, others are members of different parties, or of none. But it is our considered opinion, that whichever party you support, these measures will have a demonstrable benefit for NHS and social care services.

"We do not believe NHS and social care can continue to deliver high standards, and meet increasing demand, without more money. We hope that ahead of 8 June, all parties will set out similarly bold commitments to give the NHS and social care the funding it desperately needs.

Dr Clare Gerada MBE 
Past Chair Royal College of General Practitioners 
Dr JS Bramah 
Consultant Psychiatrist, Manchester 
Roy Lilley
NHS Commentator 
Prof Geraldine Strathdee CBE
Former National Clinical Director Mental Health, NHS England
Dr Kailish Chand OBE 
(Retd) General Practitioner 
Professor John Ashton
Past President Faculty Public Health 
Sir David Nicholson 
Past Chief Executive of NHS 
Richard Kemp CBE 
Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats 
Dr Eric Watts 
Consultant Haematologist (Retd), Chair, Doctors for the NHS 
Peter Carter
Past Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing 
Professor Martin McKee CBE
Professor of European Public Health, Past President, European Public Health Association 
Stephen Shrubb 
Past CEO Mental health trust 
Professor Dinesh Bughra CBE
Past President Royal College of Psychiatrists
Professor Walter W Holland CBE
Past president Faculty of Public health
Dr Michelle Drage

GP Leader, London
Professor Nick Bosanquet
Professor Health Policy, Imperial College
Professor Chantal Simon
General Practitioner and GP leader
Dr Mark Ashworth 
Reader in General Practitioner, London

Rory O’Conner
Specialist Nurse in Addictions 
Dr Jane Marshall
Consultant Psychiatrist, South London and Maudsley 
Jeremy Clarke CBE 
Former National Advisor, IAPT, NHS England 
Dr Asiya Yunus
General Practitioner, London 
Professor Sian M Griffiths
Past President Faculty Public Health 
Dr Mohsin Khan
Co-founder NHS Survival and NHS Psychiatrist (in personal capacity)
Dr Zoe Norris
Chair of Sessional Subcommittee of the GP Committee UK and Co-founder, NHS Survival (in personal capacity)
Dr Stella Vig
Consultant Vascular Surgeon, Royal College of Surgeons Council Member, and Co-founder, NHS Survival (in personal capacity)"

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