Nationally, Liberal Democrats are clear on the need for more funding for the NHS – and that’s something that elected Lib Dem councillors have also been acting on locally.

Right now, in Maldon and on the Dengie Peninsula, we are seeing patients waiting six hours for ambulances, urgent operations being cancelled and the elderly being denied the care they need.

To secure the future of the NHS we will all need to chip in a little more. A penny in the pound would allow us to invest in improving local NHS services and ensuring the elderly receive the care they deserve. We cannot continue asking the system to deliver more and more, without giving it the resources to do so. The tax would raise an additional £189m for Essex, with £130m for the NHS and £59m for social care each year.

Liberal Democrats on the County Council have also been fighting for more funding for NHS services, but attempts to secure more funding have been blocked by Tories.

The plans voted down by Essex County Council Conservatives created a new Social Care Pressures earmarked reserve of £2.5m, subject to reducing the Transformation reserve by an equivalent amount. This can be drawn on to match fund joint initiatives with the NHS and care providers to speed the discharge of patients from hospital and increase the supply of urgently needed care outside hospital.

Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Mike Mackrory, said:

“The Conservatives missed an opportunity to address some of Essex residents’ highest priority concerns – including the number of patients kept in expensive acute hospital beds when they should be at home or in care. There is a crisis in our NHS and social care and we need urgent action now.

“Overall this budget is further evidence of the need for radical reform. The Conservative Party’s repeated cuts to care and underfunding of the NHS have brought us to the point where many people only receive help when they are at crisis point. It will take more than gambling on an Essex lottery to solve the problem.”

You can find out more about our plans for the NHS nationally here.