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Press release

The King's Fund responds to the Leader's speech at The Liberal Democrat party conference

Responding to today’s speech by Ed Davey MP, leader of the Liberal Democrat party, Sally Warren, Director of Policy at The King’s Fund, said:

‘Social care has been failing the people who rely on it for too long, but all too often politicians have kept addressing the problems in social care in the ‘too difficult’ box. It is therefore welcome to see the Liberal Democrats thinking of what to do to improve the social care system. To better meet the needs of people, families and communities, there must be a comprehensive reform programme, implemented over several years. Today’s proposals would not solve all the problems faced by those who rely on social care and those working in the sector, but it would mean more people would be eligible for state support, at a time when demand for care is higher than ever.

‘Across their conference, the Liberal Democrats have committed to some much-needed measures to prevent ill-health. Moves to restrict junk-food advertising would help improve diets and are popular with the public. Increased funding for public health will help councils to improve the health of local communities, and making it easier for people to have their blood pressure checked would help to identify and prevent disease earlier. Taking steps such as these will go some way in improving the nation’s health and reduce pressure on overstretched services.

‘The biggest omission over the past days is any detail on how the party would recruit and retain sufficient numbers of NHS staff. Attracting an additional 8,000 GPs is a laudable ambition, but it is current government policy to recruit 6,000 more GPs, and, despite it being four years since that target was set, it has not yet been achieved. Without more flesh on the bones of the plan to recruit more GPs, it is hard to see how the Liberal Democrats’ guarantee of urgent GP appointments within 24 hours could become a reality.’

Notes to editors

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2585 (if calling out of hours, please ring 07584 146035).

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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