Former health minister Norman Lamb has warned the NHS could collapse within two years, unless the government pumps billions of pounds into services.
Mr Lamb told the Observer that the NHS currently faces a “make or break” crisis and that, as things stand, it is heading for a “crash”.
The Liberal Democrat MP, who has long been an advocate of mental health awareness, added that without the necessary funds it will be mental health patients who are hit hardest by the crisis as that is “where the squeeze always comes”.
Mr Lamb accused the Conservative government of failing to own up to the vast nature of the problem and that the extra £8bn they pledge to put into the service by 2020 will neither be enough nor come soon enough.
The former minister for care and support said: “If the investment is not made upfront and in the early period of this parliament, you could see serious failures in the system. The system will crash."
He aslo warned “elderly people won’t get the care they need” as local authorities which contract private care providers can no longer afford to pay them enough due to budget cuts.
Mr Lamb will address the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth on Tuesday and is expected to announce he is open to new ideas for funding, including the possibility of an NHS tax.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: “We are investing the additional £8billion that the NHS itself has said it needs to implement its own plan for the future.”
“The NHS must deliver its side of the plan by implementing cost-control initiatives the Government has brought forward, like clamping down on staffing agencies and expensive management consultants.
“We’re already bringing the NHS and councils together, which is helping people to live independently at home and saving money in the long term.”
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