Liberal Democrat pledge to extend GP opening hours needs proper funding plan, say experts

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: (Published 18 May 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j2428
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. London

The Liberal Democrats’ general election manifesto has promised to increase income tax by a penny a pound to raise an extra £6bn (€7bn; $7.8bn) a year to be ringfenced for NHS and adult social care.

The money would fund “priority areas,” says the manifesto (, such as improving mental healthcare, expanding access to community services, supporting struggling GPs, and extending general practice opening hours.

Around a third of the £6bn would go to social care, with about £3.5bn for health spending in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland next year, said analysts. The Health Foundation said that rising demand and cost pressures meant that there would still be a £9bn funding gap for the NHS in England by 2020-21 under the Liberal Democrats’ plan.

The party would set up a cross party convention, involving the devolved UK administrations, to work out a sustainable long term funding settlement if it came into power.

The manifesto said, “Our longer-term objective will …

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