The Liberal Democrats have unveiled their plan to establish a £2.5bn "Care Closer to Home" fund to help people stay healthier for longer and avoid hospital admissions. Under their manifesto proposal, they say they would invest £500m a year to safeguard the NHS by providing care to people in their own homes, GP surgeries, care homes and community clinics.
The £500m annual fund will help to deliver the vision set out in Simon Steven's Five Year Forward View for the NHS. Measures would allow GP surgeries to work together to provide care traditionally given in hospitals, such as X rays and other tests in their practices, so that patients do not have to travel into hospital. There would also better health care in care homes so that older people do not need to go into hospital unnecessarily.
Announcing the plans, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said: "The pressure our hospitals face is often symptomatic of problems elsewhere in the NHS. Our older people can’t get discharged because they don’t have a care home place or their home hasn’t been properly adapted. Mums and dads face having to take their child to A&E because the GP is closed."
"The new Liberal Democrat £2.5bn Care Closer to Home fund creates a fairer society, getting patients the right care, at the right time, in the right place with more control over their treatment and support." Mr Clegg added.
Liberal Democrat Health spokesman Norman Lamb said: "We want to build a fairer society and that means better care closer to home for everyone. We are backing the NHS and that’s why we are announcing this funding boost today. I am calling on all parties to match our commitment to get the NHS the £8bn a year extra funding NHS bosses say it needs by the end of the next parliament to safeguard it for the future. I am also calling on all parties to join us in an open, non partisan review of the health and care budget so that we can safeguard our NHS for the future."