The former head of the NHS David Nicholson has today backed Liberal Democrat plans to put a penny on income tax to rescue the health and care service, in a major boost for the party.
He is amongst a group of 26 leading health experts including the ex-heads of the Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of GPs and Royal College of Psychiatrist who all backed the Lib Dem approach in a letter to the Observer today.
The letter states:
"The human cost of this crisis is already painfully clear. Waiting times are rising, there is particularly poor access for people with mental ill health and operations are being cancelled.
"For these reasons, we strongly welcome the Liberal Democrats’ commitment to raise income tax by 1p, to generate additional, ringfenced revenue for NHS and social care."
Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb (pictured) commented:
"It is fantastic to have this support from those who have worked in all levels of our health service and understand the pressure it is now under.
“There is a real sense of urgency because the system is close to tipping point.
"The NHS is in a very fragile state. It has had an extraordinarily tough winter without a flu epidemic and without cold conditions.
“Bluntly, we can’t carry on like this. Only the Lib Dems have a clear and credible plan for how we raise the money and get it into the NHS and the care system.”