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Press release

The King's Fund responds to the Liberal Democrats' plan to tackle ambulance delays and corridor care

Responding to the Liberal Democrats' plan to tackle ambulance delays and corridor care, Sarah Woolnough, Chief Executive of The King’s Fund, said:

‘Long waits at A&E have become a common feature in the NHS, with the target of seeing 95% of patients within four hours last met in July 2015. It is welcome to see a focus on tackling delays and poor care in urgent and emergency services, and not just the waiting list for planned hospital care that has been a feature of party pledges in this election campaign so far.  

‘The amounts of money set out in this announcement are relatively modest and wouldn’t “fix” the urgent and emergency care crisis in isolation, but would constitute a helpful step in the right direction. It is a plan for incremental improvement, not rapid recovery. 

‘The Liberal Democrats rightly recognise that delays to discharging patients significantly limit a hospital’s ability to admit patients from A&E. Increasing the availability of social care support will be a key factor in helping people leave hospital, and the party’s plans for free personal care would be a significant step towards improving access to state-funded social care. However, a lack of social care support is not the only reason that people stay in hospital longer than necessary – issues such as poor discharge planning or hold ups with dispensing medicines also play a role. 

‘Overcrowded hospitals are a visible symptom of an entire health care system under pressure. Many of the solutions to stretched emergency services lie in bolstering out of hospital services. To achieve an effective and sustainable NHS, politicians need to embark on a radical refocusing of the health and care system towards primary and community services so that people’s conditions can be managed in the community without the need for acute care.’ 

Notes to editors

  1. The King’s Fund has published three general election priorities any future government should take to ‘fix’ health and care, including how to reduce the biggest risk factors affecting people’s health: General Election 2024 | The King's Fund (

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2585. 

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all. 

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