Higher taxes for more nurses, promise LibDems

17 May 01
The Royal College of Nursing has welcomed the Liberal Democrats' manifesto promise to use higher taxes to recruit more nurses and give them a £1,000 pay rise.

18 May 2001

In a bid to outflank Labour on health, LibDem party leader Charles Kennedy pledged to recruit 27,500 nurses and midwives – 7,500 more than the government. He said they would be in place by 2005 and would staff 10,000 new beds which would be opened as part of a package to reduce waiting lists.

In its manifesto published this week, the party also promised 2,500 more training places for doctors, to make long-term care free and to increase funding for mental health care.

It said it would fund the proposals through a new 50% income tax band for people earning more than £100,000 a year, increases in capital gains tax and savings on the NHS drugs bill.

Kennedy said: 'This manifesto sets out our policies to promote freedom and justice, underpinned by honesty. For our NHS, more doctors and nurses, better pay for low-paid NHS staff and more beds. A package that means faster treatment.'

An RCN spokeswoman welcomed 'the recognition that improving nurses' pay is an effective way to improve recruitment and retention'.

The RCN said improving mental care must be one of the new government's priorities. This week the quality of NHS mental health care was questioned during the trial of a man who admitted killing his severely depressed daughter.


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