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

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j2428 (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 (www.libdems.org.uk/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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