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Conservatives plan to charge people for and cut back on NHS while their policies squeeze out staff.

August 15, 2019 5:06 PM

Cllr Dr Aidan King"The Government has told the NHS to be ready to start charging EU citizens for treatment immediately after exit day. This policy demonstrates that Boris Johnson has no intention of honouring the promise he made to the 3.6 million EU citizens living in the UK. Both the Leave campaign and the Conservative Government promised that their rights would not change after Brexit, but this policy would deprive more than 2 million of their right to NHS care, free at the point of use," says Dr Aidan King, for Newcastle Liberal Democrats.

"Johnson's Conservative Government says EU citizens have until the end of 2020 to apply for Settled Status, even if we crash out of the EU without a deal, but now we discover it plans to subject them to the Conservatives' Hostile Environment as of 1st November this year. How are NHS staff supposed to tell the difference between EU citizens who were here before 31st October and those who arrive afterwards? Vital NHS staff from the EU have already left ahead if Brexit, and more are expected to go.

"This is particularly disgraceful given the huge contributions EU citizens make to our National Health Service - both through their taxes and through their work as doctors, nurses and support staff. Brexit would be a disaster for the NHS so we are leading the fight to stop Brexit and save free movement of the skilled people we need for our health, wellbeing and wealth.

"And with life expectancy in the UK starting to drop, a report from the Health Foundation: Building healthier communities: the role of the NHS as an anchor institution is suggesting the sort of innovative ideas that will not only improve the NHS, but also housing, the environment and employment - all vital aspects to living a long and healthy life," continued Dr King.

"But implementing this report will not be possible whilst the NHS struggles to even function thanks to the Conservative Government who have cut our health services to the bone. Last week Boris Johnson attempted to make a duplicitous new funding announcement but failed to mask the fact that the money was in no way new.

"Liberal Democrats demand better. In government we would ensure the UK has a health system prepared for the future.

"We would ensure that people live longer and healthier lives by delivering new investment in the NHS with 1p on income tax and by addressing the problems in social care and increasing the number of social homes for rent."