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CAMHS won't see you now

LibDems pledge to listen and learn

Charles Kennedy

Labour and the Conservatives are intent on a tug of war over patient choice. The Liberal Democrats are taking a different approach.

We recognise that choice is only relevant when quality and capacity are enhanced. What we believe people really want is quality public services available locally. We would continue the investment we called for in the NHS in order to develop quality services available to all.

GPs are already hard press-ed to meet the demands of Government targets and red tape. The fact nine out of 10 GPs fear choice at referral will make consultations longer is extremely worrying. Ministers must listen and ensure reforms do not offer false choice but the personalised care patients deserve.

The Liberal Democrats believe equality should be a fundamental principle in the NHS. We would improve fair access to health care by scrapping charges for eye and dental checks, introducing free personal care and reviewing prescription charges.

Prevention should be as important as cure. We would give people more control over their health, providing better information and clearer labelling to help people make healthy choices. We would develop a targeted health MOT through the electronic patient record, based on individual needs and risk factors.

GPs are the cornerstone of any attempt to deliver better health care closer to patients. There should be a continued emphasis on recruitment of GPs, particularly as so many will be retiring in the next few years. We believe more can be done to ensure young doctors see general practice as a viable and exciting career. We believe our plans to cut excess bureaucracy and political interference will help lift morale.

The Liberal Democrats would scrap the political targets that get in the way of clinical priorities. We want to see real devolution of accountability.

The Liberal Democrats will support family doctors with the investment and freedom to get on with the job of treating patients.

Pledges

·Match current government's spending in next Parliament

·Focus on local services rather than 'false choice'

·Scrap targets including 48-hour access

·Scrap charges for eye and dental checks

·Introduce informed dissent for MMR

·Introduce health MOTs

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