Liberals pioneered the National Health Service and are appalled at its present condition. We believe that the NHS should be the primary provider of medical care, with private medicine available as a supplement rather than as a superior alternative for the better off.
The Conservatives have attempted to create an internal market within the NHS, with hospital trusts competing for contracts from health authorities. We are fundamentally opposed to this approach and believe that health authorities and hospital managements should work together to agree joint strategies for the development of local healthcare.
The elected assemblies we propose for the nations and regions of Britain should have the functions of Health Authorities, thus bringing health under democratic control.
Financial resources are never infinite, even for the health service, and difficult decisions must be made about priorities. Public health, prevention and basic care services that benefit the many must generally take priority over technological advances which can help only a few.
Although we support the aims of "Care in the Community" we believe that it has wrongly been treated as a cheap option. In particular not enough has been done to build public understanding.
We recognise the division between the cure of sickness and the promotion of health. To ensure that the promotion of health receives proper priority we suggest that it be separated from the NHS and given to environmental and educational agencies. The promotion of good diet is a particular concern.
Drug abuse is a growing problem and a major factor in rising crime. Liberals believe that prohibition is ineffective and encourages law breaking (as with alcohol in the USA in the 1920s).
We propose a radical new approach to the problem with the state taking control of the supply of drugs and making them available to addicts under supervision but without threat of prosecution. It is vital to put traffickers out of business but also to prevent the epidemic growth which can arise if drugs are too freely available.