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Newly-elected Lib Dem MPs to call for emergency health budget

Newly-elected Lib Dem MPs to call for emergency health budget

A total of 72 newly-appointed Liberal Democrat MPs will enter Parliament today to call for an emergency health budget.

The party, which managed to increase its number of MPs from only 11 in the last general election, said an emergency budget is ‘urgently needed’ to increase investment in health and social care including ‘through more GPs, NHS dentists and cancer nurses’.

The emergency budget would be ‘specifically focused’ on increasing investment in health and social care and the revenue measures ‘needed to pay for it’.

The Lib Dems said that the budget could be held on Wednesday 31 July, within four weeks of the election, and that the Government should now ask the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to ‘urgently draw up forecasts’ in time for it.

Lib Dem Leader Ed Davey will welcome the new MPs to Parliament today and said the party hopes that the new government ‘will listen to this call and act’.

He said: ‘Millions of people have voted for change and put their trust in us, so our job now is to stand up for them.

‘We have won people’s trust by listening to their concerns and focusing on the things that matter most to them. Most of all that is saving the NHS and making sure everyone can get the care they need.

‘We have put health and care at the heart of our campaign, and we will put it at the top of the agenda in this Parliament too. That starts with our campaign for an emergency health and care budget before the end of the month.

‘Every Liberal Democrat MP will be a champion for the NHS and a voice for carers. We will fight to fix the health and care crisis, so that you can see a doctor or a dentist when you need to, and so your loved ones get the high-quality care they need.’

The Lib Dem manifesto had mentioned a ‘Strategic Small Surgeries Fund’ to ‘sustain services in rural and remote areas’ as well as ‘removing’ existing ‘top-down bureaucracy’ to ‘let practices hire the staff they need’.

The party also wanted to give patients a legal right to see their GP within seven days, or in 24 hours in case of an emergency; and to increase the number of GPs by 8,000, as well as a new policy to ensure all patients over 70 and those with long-term conditions see the same GP for every appointment.

Last year, the Lib Dems called on then health secretary Steve Barclay to launch ‘a GP rescue plan’, including a campaign ‘to urge retired GPs back to the workforce’.